Experts have said that a Japanese satellite, which has been planned to relay data and imagery from military and civilian Earth Observation Spacecraft, is going to be launched on Sunday on an H-2A rocket. The dual communication satellite is set to take off on an H-2A rocket at 2:25 am EST from the Tanegashima Space Center in Southern Japan. The H-2A rocket has been created by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The rocket is expected to deploy the spacecraft, a part of the Japan Data Relay System (JDRS) into an oval-shaped geostationary transmit orbit half an hour after the launch. The satellite will be using its own force system to arrive at a circular geostationary orbit, which is more than 22000 miles over the equator. It will reach there and start a 10 years-long mission. At that altitude, the satellite will orbit at the same rate of speed of the Earth’s rotation. This will give it a constant view of the Asia Pacific region.
This new satellite has a Laser Utilizing Communication System (LUCAS). It is a payload made by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. The optical contact payload of the satellite will bond with other satellites flying hundreds of miles above the Earth using a near-infrared laser beam from its spot in geostationary orbit. It will allow the transfer of data at a high speed. A single relay satellite can bond with a user spacecraft for 40 minutes in each orbit. It will pass on imagery and scientific data and other details between the Earth Observation satellite and ground station. This link will allow imagery experts to get data much faster than waiting for the satellite to come over an antenna on the ground.
The new optical data relay satellite has replaced the JAXA Kodama spacecraft with S-band and Ka-band inter-satellite links. This set up has provided data at the speed of 240 megabits per second. JAXA has discontinued the Kodama satellite in 2017 after 15 years-long mission. Experts have said that relay data satellite will give data up to the speed of 1.8 gigabits per second. It is more than 7 times faster than the speed of data transfer by Kodama satellite. The diameter of Kodama’s antenna for radio frequency transmission has been around 3.6 meters. At the same time, the diameter of the laser terminal of the relay data satellite is around 14 centimeters. The new satellite will serve Japan’s fleet intelligence gathering surveillance spacecraft, which spies on North Korea and other tactical points of interest. The launch of this satellite on H-2A Rocket will mark the 43rd flight of an H-2A Rocket since 2001. It is the fourth space mission of Japan this year.