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Akari, also known by its pre-launch name Astro-F, is a Japanese (JAXA/ISAS) astrophysics mission that was launched by an M-5 rocket from Uchinoura Space Center (at the southern tip of Kyushu Island) at 21:28 UT on 21 February 2006. (The rocket also released a 3.6 kg picosatellite, named Cute 1.7 to train students at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.) The 955 kg satellite carries a Ritchey-Chretien, F/6.1 infrared telescope with aperture 67 cm and focal length 420 cm. The primary mirror is a gold-coated silicon carbide. It carries two focal plane instruments kept at a temperature of 6 K (-450 degrees F) by 170 liter of liquid helium. The helium supply will last for 550 days of observations. Akari is expected to provide a significant advance over the results from the earlier NASA/ESA mission, IRAS (1983-004A).

Alternate Names

  • 28939
  • Astro-F
  • Astro-F
  • IRIS
  • Infrared Imaging Surveyor (IRIS)

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 2006-02-21
Launch Vehicle: M-5
Launch Site: Uchinoura Space Center, Japan
Mass: 955 kg

Funding Agency

  • Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Japan)


  • Astronomy

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office


Other sources of Akari data/information

Akari project (JAXA)

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