A data relay satellite was launched by Japan to improve disaster response

A data relay satellite was launched by Japan to improve disaster response

Japan on Sunday launched a government satellite-carrying rocket designed to relay data collected by orbiting satellites already in orbit, while enabling faster and more information-rich communications when responding to natural disasters.

A photo taken from a Kyodo News helicopter on November 29, 2020, shows a government satellite carrying an H2 rocket designed to relay data already collected by orbiting satellites in orbit at the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture in southwestern Japan. (Kyodo)


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The H2A rocket, operated by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Limited and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, took off from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture in southwestern Japan in the afternoon.

The relay satellite will initially transmit a test of the data received by a fleet of data-collecting satellites, which will send it back from its location in geographic orbit via icalicular communication.

When operating, it will help eliminate the problem that data can only be obtained when each observation satellite has a direct sight-line with the receiver on the ground.

By sending data, including images and other information, through the Relay Satellite, more smooth and longer transmissions can be made from each observation satellite, JXA said.

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