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Japanese satellite carrying black hole probe launched

Japanese satellite carrying black hole probe launched

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has announced the successful launch of a new satellite that seeks to explore the mystery surround the black holes.

The satellite blasted off from the Uchinoura base in the Kagoshima prefecture, which is located around 620 miles southwest of capital Tokyo. The M-5 rocket took off on Sunday and carried abroad the Astro-EII satellite. JAXA telecast the event live on the web. A spokesman said that according to schedule the craft dropped back the main booster rocket to Earth three minutes after take-off. Later in the day, JAXA confirmed that the Astro-EII had successfully entered its orbit, which had been located 348 miles from the Earth.

The 21-foot-long satellite weighs 1.7 tons and carries onboard five X-ray telescopes. JAXA says that the satellite will power its panels using solar energy, which will then be used to activate these telescopes.

The agency expects to get data from the craft five times daily and said that Astro-EII’s data streaming capabilities would be tested when it sent data on the movement of black holes and the collapse of galaxies and stars. Japanese scientists hope to unlock the mystery surrounding the evolution of the universe after deciphering this data.

Japan’s space program has been in full swing after the successful launch of the H-2A rocket in February this year. The JAXA has suspended the program following an accident in November 2003. A rocket scheduled to launch two spy satellites had exploded mid-flight in that year. The Astro-EII was originally scheduled to take-off earlier in the year, but was delayed since JAXA wanted to put the H-2A into orbit first. The Astro-E-II is expected to start relaying data sometime next week.

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