Japan launches satellite for advanced GPS operation

A H-IIA rocket carrying Michibiki 3 satellite lifts off from the launching pad at Tanegashima Space Center on the southwestern island of Tanegashima
A H-IIA rocket carrying Michibiki 3 satellite, one of four satellites that will augment regional navigational systems, lifts off from the launching pad at Tanegashima Space Center on the southwestern island of Tanegashima, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo August 19, 2017. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

August 19, 2017

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan on Saturday launched an H-2A rocket carrying a geo-positioning satellite into orbit after a week-long delay, the government said.

The launch of Japan’s third geo-positioning satellite is part of its plan to build a version of the U.S. global positioning system (GPS) to offer location information used for autopiloting and possible national security purposes.

The government postponed the launch a week ago because of a technical glitch.

“With the success of the third satellite, we have made another step closer for having signals from four satellites in the future,” Masaji Matsuyama, minister in charge of space policy, said in a statement.

The government plans to launch a fourth satellite by the end of the year to start offering highly precise position information by next April.

Japan plans to boost the number of its geo-positioning satellites to seven by 2023, making its system independently operational even if the U.S. GPS becomes unavailable for some reason, a government official said previously.

The satellite was manufactured by Mitsubishi Electric Corp and was blasted into orbit by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.

(Reporting by Junko Fujita and Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Robert Birsel)

  • Franck

    The system that is being launched by Japan is called QZSS (Quazi Zenith Satellite System) named after the type of orbit it uses which localizes the system. They are not the only country doing this. So far Russia, The European Union, India and China have also launched satellites as well. The reason for doing this is they want their own independent systems that are under their respective control

    • Ken

      I predict an ice age due to the sun being blocked by a million satellites. Between active and junk satellites, it is getting crowed at the speeds they travel, geo stationary or not.

      • Ken Knerr

        Attrition will take it’s toll.

  • Tom

    Japan is becoming a player in space. With the technology and resources it could become a nuclear power. North Korea should tone it down. I hope China understands this.

  • Bill Jr

    Japan Launches Satellite For Advanced GPS (Great Pyongyang Sightseeing) Operations. “We Can Even See Their Number One Nightly Show, ‘Running For A Bowl A Rice.’ Where Contestants Run 30 Miles With Sniper Rifles, In Hopes Of Getting a Bowl of Rice That’ll Last Their Family For a Year. A Wopping 4-5 Grains A Day! A Bounty!

  • intimeforthedime

    Basically Japan said FU to USA franchise owned and slow to adopt new technology satellites.
    The USA is notoriously known around the world for moving technology at a snails pace to cash in on the basic services for as long as it can.

    For example: Japan has long offered 2Gbps internet speeds for about $50 month.
    USA ranks 28th in the world when it comes to how fast the internet speeds are that are offered.
    Compared to the rest of the world, we still have dial up.
    So basically Japan told the USA to hit the road…”we are going to provide our own GPS and future technology.”
    “While you keep sodomizing your customers with slow speeds and no new technology upgrades.”

  • Scott Henke

    Yeah, okay. In reality Japan just began its own Strategic Defense Initiative.

  • global citizen

    Mitsubishi? 5 year/60,000mile warranty? Hope it needs no oil change every 3000 miles. LOL

  • steve

    That looks like a scene from James Bond.

  • 808Americans

    Rodan was unavailable for comment on the launch.

    • Ken

      The 1956 Rodan, Radon in Japan I believe…? If you are referring to the flying reptile, you aren’t a young person. I remember another that I get mixed up with Rodan, which was a huge machine with three huge pile driver legs. Name ?

      • 808Americans

        I’m 55 years sore 😉
        I believe the movie your referring to is “The Day the Earth Stood Still.”
        The original.
        I could be wrong 🙂