Japan on a Satellite-Launching Roll

The first H-IIA rocket by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries launched in about a year and delivered an intelligence gathering-satellite to the Japanese government on Sunday from the Tanegashima Space Centre.

The launch that took place on Sunday delivered IGS Optical 7 satellite to the Japanese government’s space-based supervisory body Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Center. IGS Optical7, which consisted of a spaceship gathering the Earth’s visual and radar data, is a part of the Information’s Gathering Satellite (IGS) or Joho Shashu Eisei (JSE) program. The launch on Sunday delivered the IGS Optical 7 device to the Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Center, a space-based monitoring organization belonging to the Japanese government.

Following North Korea’s failed rocket launch in 1998, Japan started to develop its IGS in the late 1990s. Even though the North Korean launch could never have reached its destination, during its climb, the rocket was moving through Japan airspace, arousing concern that the islands could be targeted with North Korean missiles. Japan aimed at developing an autonomous capacity to recognize future threats through IGS. The telescope opens opportunities and could be used by the Japanese Government to monitor accidents and other domestic purposes

Japan launched the first couple of satellites and deployed them into space with one single rocket. The first batch included the March 2003 launch that carried the IGS Optical 1 and IGS Radar 1. After a malfunction, a rocket engine struggled to detach one of the rocket engines, and after that, a repeated event in its sixth flight, eight months later. The satellites IGS Optical 2 and Radar 2 were destroyed when the failure occurred, but the designations for the corresponding satellites were reused.

In September 2006, the IGS optical 2 substitutes were deployed on its own, with its companion radar, followed by the concept for the second generation of optical satellites, flew on the 10th H-IIA in the background of the penultimate IGS dual flight on February. Two Optical 2 spacecraft, Optical 3 and 4, were launched in November 2009 and September 2011 for solo launches. From 2011 to 2018, five radar satellites in the second generation, IGS Radar 3 to 6, were launched, taking with them a consignment of unnumbered spare parts.

Japan still hasn’t confirmed its next H-IIA flight, but a few flights for 2020 are pending. This would entail an IGS satellite in orbit, a QZSS-Navigation System repair spacecraft, a continued development of an Inmarsat-6 communications satellite, and an Emirati Mars Test. At about mid-year, the Mars lift-off will be expected to provide the ideal launch possibilities for Earth and Mars and possibly a relatively good position.