Japan Launches New Relay Laser Satellite with H-IIA Rocket
Japan carried out a successful launch on Sunday that saw a new relay satellite with laser communications technology shoot up into orbit thanks to an H-IIA rocket
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. carried out the launch on Sunday in the Kagoshima prefecture at JAXA's Tanegashima Space Center at 16:25 PM local time (02:25 AM EST), reports local newspaper Nippon.com.
The company posted on Twitter once the successful launch was complete, also stating that the satellite had separated from the upper stage rocket (in Japanese).
The satellite is just starting its 10-year mission, states Space.com.
The data relay satellite will transmit high-speed data and images of Earth to a base station and is being developed by JAXA, per NHK World-Japan.
No exact orbital flight information of the satellite has been offered by JAXA, perhaps due to the sensitive nature of the data, guesses Spaceflight Now.
The separation of satellite has been confirmed. We would like to end the today’s H-IIA F43 launch report. Thank you very much. #H2AF43— MHI Launch Services (@MHI_LS) November 29, 2020
However, as JAXA explains (in Japanese) what is known is that the satellite, known as the Laser Utilizing Communication System or LUCAS, and its mission, is that LUCAS will be placed in geostationary orbit and will use optical laser-based high-speed communication technologies to receive information from the Earth-observation satellite and then transfer that information to JAXA's base station.
The satellite will remain above Japan.
This type of fast-relay information is crucial for instances of global warming monitoring as well as disaster relief and response following natural disasters such as hurricanes.