Astro-H started to generate debris !

Remaining silent Japanese X-ray observation satellite Astro-H generates debris; chances for the resumption of communication are low.

According to Joint Space Operations Center tweet, problems with Astro-H are not only connected with communication problems. In spite of fact, that Astro-H is not responding to ground control station, satellite started to generate debris. For the first time it was spotted on 26 March 2016 at around 01:20 GMT (accuracy around +/- 11 minutes). JSCC also confirmed rapid change of orbit by Astro-H, from 564.6 km by 580.5 Km to 559.6 km by 581.1 km. JAXA still keeps silence in this case, in spite of first press announcement. Radar trace of the satellite, which was base for JSCC’s statement, shows only that from satellite separated 5 debris pieces. It is not possible to recognize if there were parts of the satellite separated from satellite due leakage of fuel or gas from onboard instruments or parts of the housing or elements of the solar panels, which broken off due to impact of space debris or micro asteroid. Reason for this anomaly is also not recognized. It is possible that satellite was hit by micro asteroid or space debris. It could be caused by failure of the one of internal components of the Astro-H. Explosion of the internal battery, leakage from fuel tank or from cooling fluid tank (for example soft X-ray spectrometer is cooled by 30 l of cryogenic Helium); any rapid leakage could easily interrupt correct flight, change its orbit and push Astro-H into tumble, but it is also possible due the collision with asteroid. Such incident would also make communication with ground control station impossible due the constant movement of satellite and impossibility of facing direction antennas towards Earth. 

On picture above: possible damages in solar panel performed by orbit debris in simulated conditions.

 

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