A few hours ago the Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan carrying Kate Rubins, Anatoly Ivanishin and Takuya Onishi to transport them to the International Space Station. Unlike the usual fast path that takes six hours, it began a two-day trip that will allow to test the new version of its on-board systems.
The Japanese space agency JAXA announced the impossibility to restore at least part of its Hitomi space telescope’s functions. After the interruption of the contacts, in the course of April JAXA started an investigation in order to restore Hitomi’s functions although the damages assessed didn’t leave much hope. The attempts were expected to go on for months, instead the situation turned out to be so bad that they were forced to declare the loss of the satellite.
The Japanese space agency JAXA analyzed the data collected on its Hitomi Space Telescope, formerly known as Astro-H, to try to understand the reasons why only sporadic signals got received from the satellite since March 26. The most plausible hypothesis is that it lost its attitude because of some invalid data and its maneuvering thrusters didn’t correct the problem due to unsuitable settings. The perspective is grim but there are still hopes to save Hitomi.
A little while ago the Japanese Astro-H space telescope was launched from the Tanegashima Space Center on a H-IIA rocket. After about fifteen minutes it regularly separated from the rocket’s last stage. It will reach the low-Earth orbit, where it will be positioned at an altitude of about 575 kilometers (about 357 miles).
A little while ago, cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren and JAXA astronaut Kimiya Yui returned to Earth on the Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft, landed without problems in Kazakhstan. It was night when they landed and it was very cold so the crew that take care of assisting them was quicker than ever. They spent nearly five months on the International Space Station, where they arrived on July 23, 2015 as part of Expedition 44.