Deploy, Deploy, Deploy! ... A Double Feature ...
The first reel of the double feature is a narrated movie of
how the solar panels and X-ray telescope of the Japanese ASCA satellite
deployed after achieving orbit. It shows how the spacecraft was maneuvered
into position for deployment of solar panels and Sun acquisition control.
Then, 10 days after lift off, the X-ray telescope was extended which allowed
for the beginning of observations.
The Advanced Satellite
for Cosmology and Astrophysics (ASCA) is
Japan's fourth cosmic X-ray
mission, and the second for which the
United States provided part of the scientific payload. The satellite was
successfully launched 20 February 1993, and is still in operation today.
ASCA carries four large-area X-ray telescopes. At the foci of two of the
telescopes is a Gas Imaging Spectrometer (GIS), while a Solid-state Imaging
Spectrometer (SIS) is at the foci of the other two.
The second narrated reel of the double feature shows how the solar panels
and high-gain antennae deployed on the RXTE satellite after achieving orbit.
Put into low-Earth orbit by a Delta launch vehicle, the two 3-panel solar
arrays deploy simultaneously. After that, the 2 high-gain antennae then deploy
one at a time.
The Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) was launched on 30 December 1995 and
is operating successfully. Its scientific payload consists of three
instruments: the Proportional Counter Array (PCA), the largest device of its
type ever flown; the High-Energy X-ray Timing Experiment (HEXTE), consisting
of crystal scintillator detectors which extend the satellite energy
sensitivity up to 200 keV, and the All Sky Monitor (ASM), which scans most
of the sky every 1.5 hours in order to monitor the brightest sources in the