Ginga (satellite)


ASTRO-C, renamed Ginga (Japanese for 'galaxy'), was an X-ray astronomy satellite launched from the Kagoshima Space Center on 5 February 1987 using M-3SII launch vehicle. The primary instrument for observations was the Large Area Counter (LAC). Ginga was the third Japanese X-ray astronomy mission, following Hakucho and Tenma (also Hinotori satellite - which preceded Ginga - had X-ray sensors, but it can be seen as a heliophysics rather than X-ray astronomy mission). Ginga reentered the Earth's atmosphere on 1 November 1991.

NamesAstro-C before launch
Mission typeX-ray Astronomy
OperatorInstitute of Space and Astronautical Science
University of Tokyo
COSPAR ID1987-012A
SATCAT no.17480
Spacecraft properties
Launch mass400 kg (880 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date06:28:00, February 5, 1987 (UTC) (1987-02-05T06:28:00Z)
RocketM-3S2, mission M-3S2-3
Launch siteUchinoura Space Center
End of mission
Decay dateNovember 1, 1991 (1991-11-01)
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
Perigee altitude517 km (321 mi)
Apogee altitude708 km (440 mi)
Period97 min
EpochFebruary 5, 1987


  • Large Area Proportional Counter (LAC 1.5-37 keV)
  • All-Sky Monitor (ASM 1-20 keV)
  • Gamma-ray Burst Detector (GBD 1.5-500 keV)


  • Discovery of transient Black Hole Candidates and study of their spectral evolution.
  • Discovery of weak transients in the galactic ridge.
  • Detection of cyclotron features in 3 X-ray pulsars: 4U1538-522, V0332+53, and Cep X-4.
  • Evidence for emission and absorption Fe feature in Seyfert probing reprocessing by cold matter.
  • Discovery of intense 6-7 keV iron line emission from the galactic center region.

External linksEdit

  • NASA/GSFC information of Ginga (ex Astro-C)