Cutting Corners & Lack of Operational Protocols doomed Japan’s Hitomi Observatory

Details were now shared on the proximate causes of the spacecraft’s loss, highlighting that Hitomi’s fate was sealed by the deliberate disabling of safety systems, a willingness to accept operational risk and a lack of operational protocols for a major change on the spacecraft’s thruster system.

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Japanese Hitomi X-Ray Observatory declared Lost, Post-Mortem Investigation begins

The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency has officially declared the Hitomi X-Ray Observatory lost and ceased all attempts to communicate with the stricken spacecraft, marking the untimely end of a mission that promised a great scientific return in the field of high-energy astrophysics.

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Photos: All Orbital Launches of 2015

The year 2015 saw 87 orbital launch attempts from spaceports across the globe – 84 missions reached orbit in a year that saw 82 successful orbital launches. Here are photos of all of 2015’s space launches.

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2015 Space Launch Statistics

The year 2015 saw a total of 87 known orbital launch attempts operated by seven nations from space ports in eight countries.

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Photos: Three Space Station Crew Members return to Earth

The Soyuz TMA-17M crew of Oleg Kononenko, Kimiya Yui and Kjell Lindgren made a safe landing in Kazakhstan on Friday after a space flight of four and a half months. It marked the fifth nighttime landing of a Soyuz returning from ISS, but the first to take place after sunset instead of the early morning hours.

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Space Station Crew parachutes to safe Night Landing in snow-covered Kazakh Steppe

A trio of Soyuz crew members parachuted down to a safe landing in the dark of night on Friday, returning from a 142-day mission to the International Space Station. Making a rare nighttime landing and the first post-sunset touchdown in ISS history, Soyuz commander Oleg Kononenko and Flight Engineers Kimiya Yui and Kjell Lindgren returned safely

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Japanese Akatsuki Craft confirmed in Orbit around Venus, delivers first Images

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency announced earlier this week that the agency’s Akatsuki Venus Orbiter successfully completed its last-chance orbital insertion maneuver and was tracked close to the expected orbit around Venus, saving a mission that had been feared lost after the spacecraft had missed its first opportunity of entering orbit around Earth’s neighbor planet.

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Soyuz TMA-17M Undocks from ISS to set sail for Nighttime Return of three Crew Members

Three International Space Station residents departed the orbiting complex on Friday to start their return journey towards a rare nighttime landing of the Soyuz spacecraft on the steppe of Kazakhstan.

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Soyuz Trio set for rare Nighttime Landing on Friday

A trio of International Space Station crew members are on the eve of their return to Earth aboard Soyuz TMA-17M after a mission of four and a half months living and working on the orbiting laboratory. Soyuz Commander Oleg Kononenko and Flight Engineers Kimiya Yui and Kjell Lindgren are set for a rare nighttime landing well after sunset in typical winter conditions in the steppes of Kazakhstan.

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Hayabusa 2 Asteroid Explorer inbound for High-Speed Earth Swing-by

Japan’s Hayabusa 2 Asteroid Explorer is inbound for a flyby of Earth on Thursday after the first year of its three-and-a-half-year journey to asteroid Ryugu where the spacecraft will complete an 18-month that will include the deployment of four small landers and an explosive penetrator as well as a series of ambitious brief touchdowns for sample collection.

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Japan’s H-IIA reaches target Orbit in first Commercial GTO Launch, puts on a Show for American Observers

Japan’s H-IIA rocket delivered the Telstar 12V to a good Geostationary Transfer Orbit on Tuesday in the rocket’s first commercial launch and the first involving an upgraded second stage capable of conducting extended missions.

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H-IIA Rocket lofts Canadian Telstar Satellite in first Commercial Mission

Japan’s H-IIA rocket checked off a success on its first commercial mission to Geostationary Transfer Orbit on Tuesday, lifting the Canadian-operated Telstar 12V in a mission lasting four and a half hours and introducing a number of new technologies on the upper stage of the rocket.

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Video: H-IIA blasts off on first Commercial Mission

Japan’s H-IIA rocket lifted off from its picturesque launch site on Tanegashima Island at 6:50 UTC on Tuesday, embarking on its first fully commercial mission, lifting the Canadian-operated Telstar 12V into Geostationary Transfer Orbit in a mission lasting four and a half hours.

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H-IIA set for Japan’s first Commercial Satellite Launch to Geostationary Transfer Orbit

Japan’s H-IIA is on the launch pad for a rare commercial satellite launch Tuesday morning, lofting the Telstar 12V satellite to Geostationary Transfer Orbit for Canadian satellite operator Telsat. After over 40 years of launching satellites into Geostationary Transfer Orbit, this marks the first commercial communications satellite launch for Japan.

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