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JAXA Leaders Take Pay Cut After Loss of Hitomi X-Ray Satellite

By Caleb Henry | June 15, 2016
      ASTRO H Hitomi JAXA

      Astro-H / Hitomi at the Tsukuba Space Center, Japan, prior to launch. Photo: JAXA

      [Via Satellite 06-15-2016] Three leaders of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have decided to take a 10 percent pay cut to their monthly salary for four months, effective July, following the agency’s decision to cease efforts to salvage the Astro-H, or “Hitomi” X-ray astronomy satellite. The executives taking this reduction include JAXA President Naoki Okumura, Senior Vice President Mamoru Endo, and Vice President/Director General for the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science Saku Tsuneta.

      JAXA announced its decision to give up on Hitomi in April after determining the most likely outcome was that both solar array paddles broke off the spacecraft at their bases where they are vulnerable to rotation. The agency thought it received signals from Hitomi three times after object separation, but concluded upon further evaluation that the signals came from elsewhere due to differences in frequencies.

      The United States Air Force identified debris associated with Hitomi through the Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) following loss of communications. JAXA determined that it could not restore Hitomi’s functions, and is reviewing all phases from design, manufacturing, verification, and operations to identify the causes that may have led to this anomaly, including background factors.