X-ray Astronomy Recovery Mission (XARM) scheduled to be launched in early 2020’s carries two soft X-ray telescopes. One is Resolve consisting of a soft X-ray mirror and a micro calorimeter array, and the other is Soft X-ray Imaging Telescope (Xtend), a combination of an X-ray mirror assembly (XMA) and an X-ray CCD camera (SXI). Xtend covers a field of view (FOV) of 38′ × 38′ , much larger than that of Resolve (3′ × 3 ′ ) with moderate energy resolution in the energy band from 0.4 keV to 13 keV, which is similar to that of Resolve (from 0.3 keV to 12 keV). Simultaneous observations of both telescopes provide complimentary data of X-ray sources in their FOV. In particular, monitoring X-ray sources outside the Resolve FOV but inside the Xtend FOV is important to enhance the reliability of super high resolution spectra obtained with Resolve. Xtend is also expected to be one of the best instruments for low surface brightness X-ray emissions with its low non X-ray background level, which is comparable to that of Suzaku XIS. The design of Xtend is almost identical to those of Soft X-ray Telescope (SXT) and Soft X-ray Imager (SXI) both on board the Hitomi satellite. However, several mandatory updates are included. Updates for the CCD chips are verified with experiment using test CCD chips before finalizing the design of the flight model CCD. Fabrication of the foils for XMA has started, and flight model production of the SXI is almost ready.
The ASTRO-H mission was designed and developed through an international collaboration of JAXA, NASA, ESA, and the CSA. It was successfully launched on February 17, 2016, and then named Hitomi. During the in-orbit verification phase, the on-board observational instruments functioned as expected. The intricate coolant and refrigeration systems for soft X-ray spectrometer (SXS, a quantum micro-calorimeter) and soft X-ray imager (SXI, an X-ray CCD) also functioned as expected. However, on March 26, 2016, operations were prematurely terminated by a series of abnormal events and mishaps triggered by the attitude control system. These errors led to a fatal event: the loss of the solar panels on the Hitomi mission. The X-ray Astronomy Recovery Mission (or, XARM) is proposed to regain the key scientific advances anticipated by the international collaboration behind Hitomi. XARM will recover this science in the shortest time possible by focusing on one of the main science goals of Hitomi,“Resolving astrophysical problems by precise high-resolution X-ray spectroscopy”.<sup>1</sup> This decision was reached after evaluating the performance of the instruments aboard Hitomi and the mission’s initial scientific results, and considering the landscape of planned international X-ray astrophysics missions in 2020’s and 2030’s. Hitomi opened the door to high-resolution spectroscopy in the X-ray universe. It revealed a number of discrepancies between new observational results and prior theoretical predictions. Yet, the resolution pioneered by Hitomi is also the key to answering these and other fundamental questions. The high spectral resolution realized by XARM will not offer mere refinements; rather, it will enable qualitative leaps in astrophysics and plasma physics. XARM has therefore been given a broad scientific charge: “Revealing material circulation and energy transfer in cosmic plasmas and elucidating evolution of cosmic structures and objects”. To fulfill this charge, four categories of science objectives that were defined for Hitomi will also be pursued by XARM; these include (1) Structure formation of the Universe and evolution of clusters of galaxies; (2) Circulation history of baryonic matters in the Universe; (3) Transport and circulation of energy in the Universe; (4) New science with unprecedented high resolution X-ray spectroscopy. In order to achieve these scientific objectives, XARM will carry a 6 × 6 pixelized X-ray micro-calorimeter on the focal plane of an X-ray mirror assembly, and an aligned X-ray CCD camera covering the same energy band and a wider field of view. This paper introduces the science objectives, mission concept, and observing plan of XARM.
The Soft X-ray Imager (SXI) is an imaging spectrometer using charge-coupled devices (CCDs) aboard the Hitomi x-ray observatory. The SXI sensor has four CCDs with an imaging area size of 31 mm×31 mm arranged in a 2×2 array. Combined with the x-ray mirror, the Soft X-ray Telescope, the SXI detects x-rays between 0.4 and 12 keV and covers a 38′×38′ field of view. The CCDs are P-channel fully depleted, back-illumination type with a depletion layer thickness of 200 μm. Low operation temperature down to −120°C as well as charge injection is employed to reduce the charge transfer inefficiency (CTI) of the CCDs. The functionality and performance of the SXI are verified in on-ground tests. The energy resolution measured is 161 to 170 eV in full width at half maximum for 5.9-keV x-rays. In the tests, we found that the CTI of some regions is significantly higher. A method is developed to properly treat the position-dependent CTI. Another problem we found is pinholes in the Al coating on the incident surface of the CCDs for optical light blocking. The Al thickness of the contamination blocking filter is increased to sufficiently block optical light.
The Hitomi (ASTRO-H) mission is the sixth Japanese X-ray astronomy satellite developed by a large international collaboration, including Japan, USA, Canada, and Europe. The mission aimed to provide the highest energy resolution ever achieved at E > 2 keV, using a microcalorimeter instrument, and to cover a wide energy range spanning four decades in energy from soft X-rays to gamma-rays. After a successful launch on 2016 February 17, the spacecraft lost its function on 2016 March 26, but the commissioning phase for about a month provided valuable information on the on-board instruments and the spacecraft system, including astrophysical results obtained from first light observations. The paper describes the Hitomi (ASTRO-H) mission, its capabilities, the initial operation, and the instruments/spacecraft performances confirmed during the commissioning operations for about a month.
We report here the performance of the SXI on ASTRO-H that was started its operation from March,02 2016. The SXI consists of 4 CCDs that cover 38' X 38' sky region. They are P-channel back-illumination type CCD with a depletion layer of 200 μm. Charge injection (CI) method is applied from its beginning of the mission. Two single stage sterling coolers are equipped with the SXI while one of them has enough power to cool the CCD to -110°C. There are two issues in the SXI performance: one is a light-leak and the other is a cosmic-ray echo. The light-leak is due to the fact that the day-Earth irradiates visible lights onto the SXI body through holes in the satellite base plate. It can be avoided by selecting targets not on the anti-day-Earth direction. The cosmic-ray echo is due to the improper parameter values that is fixed by revising them with which the cosmic-ray echo does not affect the image. Using the results of RXJ1856.5-3754, we confirm that the possible contaminants on the CCD is well within our expectation.
The Soft X-ray Imager (SXI) is an X-ray CCD camera onboard the ASTRO-H X-ray observatory. The CCD chip used is a P-channel back-illuminated type, and has a 200-µm thick depletion layer, with which the SXI covers the energy range between 0.4 keV and 12 keV. Its imaging area has a size of 31 mm x 31 mm. We arrange four of the CCD chips in a 2 by 2 grid so that we can cover a large field-of-view of 38’ x 38’. We cool the CCDs to -120 °C with a single-stage Stirling cooler. As was done for the CCD camera of the Suzaku satellite, XIS, artificial charges are injected to selected rows in order to recover charge transfer inefficiency due to radiation damage caused by in-orbit cosmic rays. We completed fabrication of flight models of the SXI and installed them into the satellite. We verified the performance of the SXI in a series of satellite tests. On-ground calibrations were also carried out and detailed studies are ongoing.
Soft X-ray Imager (SXI) is a CCD camera onboard the ASTRO-H satellite which is scheduled to be launched in 2015. The SXI camera contains four CCD chips, each with an imaging area of 31mm x 31 mm, arrayed in mosaic, covering the whole FOV area of 38′ x 38′. The CCDs are a P-channel back-illuminated (BI) type with a depletion layer thickness of 200 _m. High QE of 77% at 10 keV expected for this device is an advantage to cover an overlapping energy band with the Hard X-ray Imager (HXI) onboard ASTRO-H. Most of the flight components of the SXI system are completed until the end of 2013 and assembled, and an end-to-end test is performed. Basic performance is verified to meet the requirements. Similar performance is confirmed in the first integration test of the satellite performed in March to June 2014, in which the energy resolution at 5.9 keV of 160 eV is obtained. In parallel to these activities, calibrations using engineering model CCDs are performed, including QE, transmission of a filter, linearity, and response profiles.
The joint JAXA/NASA ASTRO-H mission is the sixth in a series of highly successful X-ray missions developed by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), with a planned launch in 2015. The ASTRO-H mission is equipped with a suite of sensitive instruments with the highest energy resolution ever achieved at E > 3 keV and a wide energy range spanning four decades in energy from soft X-rays to gamma-rays. The simultaneous broad band pass, coupled with the high spectral resolution of ΔE ≤ 7 eV of the micro-calorimeter, will enable a wide variety of important science themes to be pursued. ASTRO-H is expected to provide breakthrough results in scientific areas as diverse as the large-scale structure of the Universe and its evolution, the behavior of matter in the gravitational strong field regime, the physical conditions in sites of cosmic-ray acceleration, and the distribution of dark matter in galaxy clusters at different redshifts.
Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image (MAXI) is mounted on the International Space Station (ISS). Since 2009 it has been scanning the whole sky in every 92 minutes with ISS rotation. Due to high particle background at high latitude regions the carbon anodes of three GSC cameras were broken. We limit the GSC operation to low-latitude region around equator. GSC is suffering a double high background from Gamma-ray altimeter of Soyuz spacecraft. MAXI issued the 37-month catalog with 500 sources above ~0.6 mCrab in 4-10 keV. MAXI issued 133 to Astronomers Telegram and 44 to Gammaray burst Coordinated Network so far. One GSC camera had a small gas leak by a micrometeorite. Since 2013 June, the 1.4 atm Xe pressure went down to 0.6 atm in 2014 May 23. By gradually reducing the high voltage we keep using the proportional counter. SSC with X-ray CCD has detected diffuse soft X-rays in the all-sky, such as Cygnus super bubble and north polar spur, as well as it found a fast soft X-ray nova MAXI J0158-744. Although we operate CCD with charge-injection, the energy resolution is degrading. In the 4.5 years of operation MAXI discovered 6 of 12 new black holes. The long-term behaviors of these sources can be classified into two types of the outbursts, 3 Fast Rise Exponential Decay (FRED) and 3 Fast Rise and Flat Top (FRFT). The cause of types is still unknown.
The Soft X-ray Imager, SXI, is an X-ray CCD camera onboard the ASTRO-H satellite to be launched in 2015. ASTRO-H will carry two types of soft X-ray detector. The X-ray calorimeter, SXS, has an excellent energy resolution with a narrow field of view while the SXI has a medium energy resolution with a large field of view, 38′ square. We employ 4 CCDs of P-channel type with a depletion layer of 200 μm. Having passed the CDR, we assemble the FM so that we can join the final assembly. We present here the SXI status and its expected performance in orbit.
The joint JAXA/NASA ASTRO-H mission is the sixth in a series of highly successful X-ray missions initiated
by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS). ASTRO-H will investigate the physics of the highenergy
universe via a suite of four instruments, covering a very wide energy range, from 0.3 keV to 600 keV.
These instruments include a high-resolution, high-throughput spectrometer sensitive over 0.3–12 keV with
high spectral resolution of ΔE ≦ 7 eV, enabled by a micro-calorimeter array located in the focal plane of
thin-foil X-ray optics; hard X-ray imaging spectrometers covering 5–80 keV, located in the focal plane of
multilayer-coated, focusing hard X-ray mirrors; a wide-field imaging spectrometer sensitive over 0.4–12 keV,
with an X-ray CCD camera in the focal plane of a soft X-ray telescope; and a non-focusing Compton-camera
type soft gamma-ray detector, sensitive in the 40–600 keV band. The simultaneous broad bandpass, coupled
with high spectral resolution, will enable the pursuit of a wide variety of important science themes.
Soft X-ray Imager (SXI) is a CCD camera onboard the ASTRO-H satellite which is scheduled to be launched
in 2014. The SXI camera contains four CCD chips, each with an imaging area of 31mm×
31 mm, arrayed in
mosaic, which cover the whole FOV area of 38' ×
38'. The SXI CCDs are a P-channel back-illuminated (BI) type
with a depletion layer thickness of 200 μm. High QE of 77% at 10 keV expected for this device is an advantage
to cover an overlapping energy band with the Hard X-ray Imager (HXI) onboard ASTRO-H. Verification with
engineering model of the SXI has been performed since 2011. Flight model design was fixed and its fabrication
has started in 2012.
Soft X-ray Imager (SXI) is a CCD camera onboard the ASTRO-H satellite which is scheduled to be launched
in 2014. The SXI camera contains four CCD chips, each with an imaing aread of 31mmx31 mm, arrayed in
mosaic, which cover the whole FOV area of 38'x38'. The SXI CCD of which model name is HPK Pch-NeXT4
is a P-channel type, back-illuminated, fully depleted device with a thickness of 200μm. We have developed an
engineering model of the SXI camera body with coolers, and analog electronics for them. Combined with the
bread board digital electronics, we succeeded in operation the whole the SXI system. The CCDs are cooled down
to -120°C with this system, and X-rays from <sup>55</sup>Fe sources are detected. Although optimization of the system is in
progress, the energy resolution of typical 200 eV and best 156 eV (FWHM) at 5.9 keV are obtained. The readout
noise is 10 e<sup>-</sup> to 15 e<sup>-</sup>, and to be improved its goal value of 5 e<sup>-</sup>. On-going function tests and environment tests
reveal some issues to be solved until the producntion of the SXI flight model in 2012.
The joint JAXA/NASA ASTRO-H mission is the sixth in a series of highly successful X-ray missions initiated
by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS). ASTRO-H will investigate the physics of the
high-energy universe by performing high-resolution, high-throughput spectroscopy with moderate angular
resolution. ASTRO-H covers very wide energy range from 0.3 keV to 600 keV. ASTRO-H allows a combination
of wide band X-ray spectroscopy (5-80 keV) provided by multilayer coating, focusing hard X-ray
mirrors and hard X-ray imaging detectors, and high energy-resolution soft X-ray spectroscopy (0.3-12 keV)
provided by thin-foil X-ray optics and a micro-calorimeter array. The mission will also carry an X-ray CCD
camera as a focal plane detector for a soft X-ray telescope (0.4-12 keV) and a non-focusing soft gamma-ray
detector (40-600 keV) . The micro-calorimeter system is developed by an international collaboration led
by ISAS/JAXA and NASA. The simultaneous broad bandpass, coupled with high spectral resolution of
ΔE ~7 eV provided by the micro-calorimeter will enable a wide variety of important science themes to be
MAXI, the first astronomical payload on JEM-EF of ISS, began operation on August 3, 2009 for monitoring all-sky
X-ray images every ISS orbit (92 min). All instruments as well as two main X-ray slit cameras, the GSC and SSC,
worked well as expected for one month test operation. The MAXI has been operated since August, 2009 and monitored
more than 300 X-ray sources, which include Galactic black holes and black hole candidates (BH/BHC), transient X-ray
pulsars, X-ray novae, X-ray bursts, CVns, a considerable number of AGNs and so on. Automatic nova-alert and rapid
report system is starting up, while we have published more than 30 results publicly on GCN and ATel with manual
analysis. We are also releasing daily data more than 200 targets publicly.
Now MAXI has continued steady operation since the beginning of 2010 although capability of a part of X-ray
detectors is going down from initial ability. We have obtained some remarkable results concerning BH/BHC, X-ray
pulsars and AGNs. As one of the results XTE J1752-223, an X-ray nova accompanying a black hole candidate, has
revealed an evolution of accretion disc and high energy plasma from the data for seven-month observations.
In this paper we report the operation status of MAXI on the ISS as well as early several astronomical results.
We are designing an X-ray CCD camera (SXI) for ASTRO-H, including many new items. We have developed
the CCD, CCD-NeXT4, that is a P-channel type CCD. It has a thick depletion layer of 200μm with an imaging
area of 30mm square. Since it is back-illuminated, it has a good low energy response and is robust against the
impact of micro-meteorites. We will employ 4 chips to cover the area of 60mm square. A mechanical rather
than peltier cooler will be employed so that we can cool the CCD to -120°C. We will also introduce an analog
ASIC that is placed very close to the CCD. It performs well, having a similar noise level to that assembled by
using individual parts used on SUZAKU. We also employ a modulated X-ray source (MXS), that improves the
accuracy of the calibration. The SXI will have one of the largest SΩ among various satellites.
The Wide-field X-ray Monitor (WXM) is one of the scientific
instruments carried on the High Energy Transient Explorer 2 (HETE-2)
satellite launched in October 2000. The WXM consists of three elements: (1) four identical Xe-filled one-dimensional position-sensitive proportional counters, two in the spacecraft X-direction and two in the Y-direction, (2) two sets of one-dimensional coded apertures orthogonally mounted above the counters in the X and Y-direction, and (3) the main electronics that processes analog signals from the counters. The WXM counters are sensitive to X-rays between 2 keV and 25 keV within a field-of-view of about 1.5 sr with a total detector area of about 350 cm<sup>2</sup>. The combination of the apertures and the counters provides GRB locations with accuracy ~10 arcmin. The counters and electronics are developed and fabricated by RIKEN, and the apertures and on-board software are designed and provided by Los Alamos National Laboratory. The WXM plays a major roll in the GRB localization and its spectroscopy in the energy range between 2 keV and 25 keV. During the first year of observations, a number of steady X-ray sources as well as high-energy transients were detected with the WXM. Observing Crab nebula and Sco X-1, we have calibrated the detector alignment between the WXM and the optical camera system with 2 arcmin accuracy. As of 29 July 2002, nineteen GRBs have been localized with the WXM in the 18 months of stable operations. Twelve of them were reported to the GCN within a delay of 10 hours, and 4 optical transients were identified by ground based telescopes. The energy response of the detectors has also been calibrated using the Crab spectrum. We report the in-orbit performance of the WXM instrument during the first 18 months.
Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image (MAXI) is the first astrophysical payload which will be mounted on the Japanese Experiment Module Exposed Facility of International Space Station in 2004. It is designed for monitoring all-sky in the x-ray band by scanning with slat collimators and slit apertures. Its angular resolution and scanning period are approximately 1 arc degree and 90 minutes, respectively. MAXI employs two types of X-ray camera. One is Gas slit Camera (GSC), the detectors of which are 1D position sensitive proportional counters. Its position resolution is approximately 1.0 mm along carbon anode wires. GSC covers the 2.0 - 30 keV energy band. We have found an interesting feature in the energy response: monochromatic X-rays are detected with a peculiar hard tail in the spectra. The physical mechanism causing the hard tail is still unclear. The other camera is Solid-state Slit Camera (SSC). We employ a pair of SSCs, each of which consists of sixteen CCD chips. Each CCD has 1024 X 1024 pixels, and each pixel is 24 X 24 micrometers. The CCDs are to be operated at -60 degree using Peltier coolers. SSC covers an energy range of 0.5 - 10.0 keV. The test counters and test chips are evaluated in NASDA, Riken, and Osaka-University. The continuous Ethernet down link will enable us to alert the astronomers in all over the world to the appearance of X-ray transients, novae, bursts, flares etc. In this paper we will report on the current status of the MAXI mission.
The Wide-field X-ray Monitor is one of the scientific instruments carried on the High Energy Transient Explorer 2 (HETE-2) satellite planned to be launched in May, 2000 (on the present schedule in February, 2000). HETE-2 is an international mission of a small satellite dedicated to provide broad band observations and accurate localizations of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). The first HETE satellite was lost due to a Pegasus XL rocket mishap on November 4, 1996. The HETE-2 has been developed on basically the same concept except that the UV cameras were replaced with the Soft X-ray Camera. A unique feature of this mission is its capability of determination and transmission of GRB coordinates in near real time through a network of primary and secondary ground stations.
Monitor of All-Sky X-ray Image (MAXI) is the first astrophysical payload for the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) on the International Space Station. It is designed for monitoring all sky in the x-ray band. Two kinds of x-ray detectors, the gas slit camera and the solid-state slit camera, are employed. The former is the gas proportional counter with 1D position sensitivity and the latter is the x-ray CCD. We have designed and constructed the engineering models of both detectors. We have also developed an x-ray irradiation facility in the Tsukuba Space Center of National Space Development Agency of Japan. We report the status of the mission and introduce the x-ray irradiation facility.
NASDA (National Space Development Agency of Japan) has selected MAXI as an early payload of the JEM (Japanese experiment module) Exposed Facility (EF) on the space station. MAXI is designed for all sky x-ray monitoring, and is the first astrophysical payload of four sets of equipment selected for JEM. MAXI will monitor the activities of about 1000 - 2000 x-ray sources. In the present design, MAXI is a slit scanning camera system which consists of two kinds of x-ray detectors; one with one-dimensional position sensitive proportional counters and the other with an x-ray CCD array employed for one-dimensional imaging. MAXI will be able to detect one milli-Crab x-ray sources in a few-day observations. The whole sky will be covered completely in every orbit of the space station. MAXI will be capable of monitoring variability of galactic and extragalactic sources on timescales of days with a sensitivity improvement of a factor of 5 or more over previous missions. NASDA and RIKEN have jointly begun the design and construction of MAXI. The payload will be ready for launch in 2003. In this paper we present the scientific objectives of MAXI, a basic design and some simulation results, after introducing the present status of JEM.
The wide-field x-ray monitor (WXM) is one of the three scientific instruents onboard high energy transient experiment (HETE) satellite, which was launched in 1996. The primary objective of HETE is to carry out the first multi- wavelength study of gamma-ray bursts with UV, x-ray, and gamma-ray instruments mounted on a single, compact spacecraft. WXM has been designed to undertake comprehensive x-ray spectra observations and quickly determine small error boxes of GRB locations within a large field of view of about 1.5 steradian. It is based on the principle of coded aperture imaging. It has four identical one-dimensional position sensitive proportional counters (PSPCs), one pair in each of two orthogonal directions. Each PSPC is filled with 1.4 atm Xe (97%) and CO2 (3%), equipped with three resistive carbon anodes of 10 micrometer diameter, and sensitive to x-rays between 2 and 25 keV. It provides position resolution of about 1.0 mm (FWHM), and energy resolution of about 17% (FWHM) at 8 keV.