Astro-H is a space-based X-ray observatory, currently scheduled to be launched in 2014. The mission is an international collaboration, led by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) with participation from institutions in the US, Canada and Europe through the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), and the European Space Agency (ESA). Astro-H will be the sixth X-ray telescope launched by the Japanese Institute of Space and Astronomical Science (ISAS), succeeding the currently active Suzaku satellite (ASTRO-EII). Astro-H is planned to be in operation for at least three years.
Astro-H will be equipped with two Soft X-ray Telescopes (SXT), two Hard X-ray Telescopes, a Soft X-ray Spectrometer (SXS), a Soft X-ray Imager (SXI), a Hard X-ray Imager (HXI) and a Soft Gamma ray Detector (SGD). Its objectives are to study the structure, evolution, and high-energy physics of the Universe including black holes, supernovae, and clusters of galaxies. Its instruments are designed to give previously unachievable energy resolution in X-rays, ultrasensitive wide field X-ray observations, and some of the first images from the Hard X-ray Telescopes.
The Canadian contribution to the mission is in the Canadian Astro-H Metrology System (CAMS). This system is designed to measure the displacement of the Hard X-ray Imager relative to the rest of the satellite. This is to account for any distortions in the Extensible Optical Bench (EOB) to which the HXI is attached, which will provide its focal length.