Mission Overview

Astro-C, renamed Ginga (Japanese for 'galaxy'), was launched from the Kagoshima Space Center on 5 February 1987. The primary instrument for observations was the Large Area Counter (LAC). Ginga was the third Japanese X-ray astronomy mission, following Hakucho and Tenma. Ginga reentered the Earth's atmosphere on 1 November 1991.

Launch Information

Launch Date: 1987-02-05 at 06:28:00 UTC
Launch Vehicle: M-3S2-3
Launch Site: Uchinoura Space Center, Japan
Decay Date: 1991-11-01

Trajectory Description
Central Body: Earth
Epoch start: 1987-02-05 00:00:00 UTC

Orbital Parameters
Periapsis517.0 km
Apoapsis 708.0 km
Period 97.0 minutes
Inclination 31.100000381469727°
Eccentricity 0.013651999644935131

   • Large Area Proportional Counter (LAC) 1.5-37 keV Eff. area = 4000 cm2, FOV = 0.8° x 1.7°
   • All-Sky Monitor (ASM) 1-20 keV Eff. area = 70 cm2, FOV = 1° x 180°
   • Gamma-Ray Burst Detector (GBD) 1.5-500 keV Eff. area = 60 cm2 (SC) and 63 cm2 (PC), FOV = All-sky


   • 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.