back to article Hope for Hitomi after tumbling space 'scope phones home

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has received two brief transmission bursts from its tumbling space telescope Hitomi that show the telescope isn't a total write-off. The X-ray telescope, dubbed Hitomi after its successful launch on February 27, was due to have started operations this week, but JAXA lost contact …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Akatsuki demonstrated JAXA are relenting in making things work. Here's hoping it doesn't take nearly as long.

  2. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

    Good luck!

    Fingers crossed this one too can be saved.

  3. cbars Silver badge


    "rotating once every ten seconds"



    Hey Turn...

    Hey Turn Around!


    Hey satellite, carry on with normal operations please :)

    _Might take a while_

    A beer for the boffins, whether they manage it or not

  4. imanidiot Silver badge

    A little too high

    Unfortunately Hitomi is even higher up than Hubble so doing a manned repair mission is probably not an option (Yes, I know the spaceshuttle is out of commission. If the craft can be kept alive for a few years humanity might get some sort of technology to launch a repair mission. Maybe make it the inaugural mission for the SLS program or something. Gives those poor astronauts something to do apart from hitching a ride with the Ruskies)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As the article states, if the satellite is spinning it will be very hard to make any meaningful communication in order to recover spin 'manually' from the ground.

    How do they plan to recover this? Can they broadcast a continuous emergency signal which would trigger the satellite to use it's RCS and gyros to stop the spin by itself or do satellites have some sort of fail safe rule like "If I'm spinning for more than a few days then activate auto-stabilisation routines"

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      It depends on the mission, but there is normally a "safe mode" which can be triggered for a number of reasons, for example the battery rings very low, it's spinning too fast, it's lost lock on the Earth, etc.

      Often the safe mode will do a hardware reconfiguration, which is like an interrupt, and physically switch over to a different software bank and run specific software to recover the space craft, stabilise it, orient the solar array to the sun and point comms antennas at the earth (all depending on the spacecraft and orbit of course).

      However if the spacecraft is spinning because of a fuel leakage, it may not have the capability to control it's attitude anymore. For all the "miraculous" recoveries (and some of the failure reports show amazing ingenuity) there are a number of spacecraft that never recover. I'm crossing my fingers.

  6. MondoMan

    Hope it wasn't due to buying dirt cheap "genuine" brand name lithium batteries on Amazon...

    1. Gordon 10

      Yea I thought Japanese lithium batteries were meant to be the good ones?

  7. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Japan may be good at rescuing malfunctioning spcaecraft

    But they're also good at making spacecraft which malfunction in the first place.

    It's all very well having "standards" and "quality control", but the cultural thing of not wanting to question more senior/experienced staff frequently results in boneheaded design decisions not being stopped before getting bolted on top of a launch stack.

    (Also reinventing the same errors previously done by other agencies, such as orienting all the solar panels around a bird the same way up instead of alternating up and down (which causes the electric fields to cancel out). The resulting electric fields caused major problems with sensors, as it did when NASA did the same thing in the 1960s...)

    It's shades of Tepco getting advice about where to safely site the backup generators (and other stuff) then doing what they wanted anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Japan may be good at rescuing malfunctioning spcaecraft

      One thing I am happy to display as a Brit is the ability to smile if someone makes a joke at my expense (as long as it is a half decent joke, and I have clothes on).

      Cultures that are all about "face" probably need to chill a bit.

      I've worked with some genuinely good people from the far east who have been replaced with less competent people because they had threatened the superiors technical standing, do that a few times and it gets very tiring.

    2. Adrian Tawse

      Boneheaded senior management

      Unfortunately this is not a Japanese monopoly. This country has more than it's fair share of boneheads.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Elaborate publicity stunt?

    Just a promo for the new 'Mothra versus the space-babes' movie.

  9. weegie38

    Have JAXA checked to see whether a crazed Matt Damon tried to dock with the scope?

  10. lglethal Silver badge

    Contact was made at 10pm and 3am?

    Yep sounds like the kids at college alright...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why Hitomi?

    Those familiar with JAV (Japanese porn) will recognise the nom de porn of an actress with enormous breasts. Did it trip over its tits?

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