The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the 21st Scientific Satellite (ASTRO-F) aboard the M-V Launch Vehicle No. 8 (M-V-8) at 6:28 a.m. on February 22, 2006 (Japan Standard Time, JST) from the Uchinoura Space Center (USC). The launcher was set to a vertical angle of 81.5 degrees, and the flight azimuth was 143.0 degrees.

The launch vehicle flew smoothly, and after the third stage engine burnout, it was confirmed that the satellite was safely injected into its scheduled orbit of a perigee altitude of approximately 304 km and an apogee altitude of approximately 733 km with an inclination of approximately 98.2 degrees.

JAXA started receiving signals from the ASTRO-F at 6:43 a.m. at the Perth Station, and from those signals we verified that the ASTRO-F had successfully separated.

The in-orbit ASTRO-F was given a nickname of “Akari” (meaning a “light.”)

We would like to express our appreciation for the cooperation and support from all related personnel and organizations that helped contribute to the successful launch of the ASTRO-F/M-V-8.