Japan on Sunday launched a missile carrying two satellites, one operated by the government, to transmit data collected by reconnaissance satellites already in orbit, enabling faster and more informative communications when responding to natural disasters.
A photo taken on November 29, 2020 from the Kyodo News helicopter shows the launch of an H2A missile carrying a government satellite designed to transmit data collected by reconnaissance satellites already in orbit at the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan. (Kyodo)
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The H2A missile, operated by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. And the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan, at 4:25 pm.
The satellites – which are both a government data transmission satellite and a JAXA optical data transmission satellite – entered their intended orbit after about 30 minutes.
The two satellites sit in the same unit and will share basic components such as the power supply and control systems.
“We will use satellites to fully collect information to further enhance the national security of our country and manage crises,” Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said in a statement.
The relay satellites will initially conduct test transmissions of data obtained by the fleet of information-gathering satellites, and send it back from their position in geostationary orbit by optical communication.
When in operation, it will help to overcome the problem that data can only be received for a limited time when each monitoring satellite has a direct line of sight with a receiver on the ground.
By sending data, including images and other information, via relay satellites, transmissions can be made more flexibly and for a longer time than each monitoring satellite, JAXA said.