Japan abandons efforts to retrieve $270 million satellite

Tokyo: Japan's national aerospace agency on Thursday announced it will abandon efforts to retrieve a satellite worth more than $270 million that the agency lost contact with last month. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said it had lost hopes of restoring communications with the Astro-H, or Hitomi satellite, that was originally launched on February 17 to observe black holes and galaxy clusters, EFE news reported. JAXA lost contact with Hitomi, meaning "pupil of the eye" in Japanese, on March 26, just a month after its launch. The 2.7-tonne satellite, equipped with four X-ray telescopes and two gamma-ray detectors, was a joint project between JAXA, the US space agency NASA and other groups in Japan, Canada and Europe. Hitomi was designed to observe X-rays from space emitted by black holes and other space objects, according to JAXA. The mission cost Japan about 31 billion yen ($270 million), notwithstanding contributions from NASA, Canada and Europe, according to the Spaceflightnow website.  IANS