Japanese Spacecraft Tumbling in Orbit (A Piece)
This may be the largest remaining piece of the space telescope Hitomi.
New observations suggest that Hitomi, Japan’s flagship X-ray telescope, is tumbling through space in ten or more pieces—and is likely unrecoverable.
“The available data now seem to indicate a real break-up rather than just “some” debris shedding,” writes satellite tracker Marco Langbroek. “If true, then Hitomi is beyond saving.”
The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) lost consistent contact with Hitomi (also known as ASTRO-H) on March 26. Early reports showed the spacecraft’s orbit had rapidly changed—and that it had then shed at least five pieces of debris, size unknown. Video footage captured from the ground revealed an object tumbling through space, an ominous