8th HEAD Meeting, 8-11 September, 2004
Session 14 Missions
Oral, Thursday, September 9, 2004, 10:21-10:41am

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[14.01] The Astro-E2 Mission

R.L. Kelley (NASA/Goddard for the joint US and Japan Astro-E2 Team)

The Astro-E2 observatory is a rebuild of the original Astro-E observatory that was lost during launch in February 2000. It is scheduled for launch into low earth orbit on a Japanese M-V rocket in early 2005. The Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, is developing the observatory with major contributions from the US. The three instruments on the observatory are the high-resolution x-ray spectrometer (the XRS) featuring a 30-pixel x-ray microcalorimeter array, a set of four CCD cameras (the XIS) and a combination photo-diode/scintillator detector system (the HXD) that will extend the band pass up to nearly 700 keV. A significant feature of Astro-E2 is that all of the instruments are coaligned and operated simultaneously. With its high spectral resolution and collecting area for spectroscopy above 1 keV, Astro-E2 should enable major discovery space and pioneer new technology for use in space. Prime areas for investigation are supernova remnants, active galaxies and the measurement of black hole properties via relativistically-broadened Fe-K emission lines, and the dynamics and inflow properties of the x-ray emitting gas in clusters of galaxies. A number of enhancements have been made for the Astro-E2/XRS, including a higher resolution microcalorimeter array, a mechanical cooler for longer cryogen life, and an improved in-flight calibration system. The Astro-E2/XIS has also been improved to include two back-side-illuminated CCDs to enhance the low energy response. Improvements have also been made to the x-ray mirrors used for both the XRS and XIS to sharpen the point spread function and reduce the effects of stray light. In this talk we will present the essential features of Astro-E2, paying particular attention to the enhancements, and describe the major scientific strengths of the observatory.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 #3
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.