An H-2A rocket carrying a high-speed Internet satellite named Kizuna was successfully launched from Tanegashima Space Center in Minami-Tanecho, Kagoshima Prefecture, at about 6 p.m. Saturday.

The satellite was developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, and was launched by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.

The launch schedule was changed three times due to strong winds and the intrusion of a fishing vessel into a sea area declared off-limits for the launch. The rocket was finally launched 95 minutes behind schedule.

The satellite separated from the rocket about 28 minutes after the launch, about 280 kilometers above the Pacific Ocean south of the Hawaii islands and was in an elliptical orbit around the Earth. It will go into its scheduled geostationary orbit in about 20 days.

Saturday’s H-2A launch, which cost about 10.9 billion yen, was the eighth consecutive launch of the domestically developed and manufactured rocket since February 2005.

The Kizuna measures three meters by two meters by eight meters and weighs about 2.7 tons. About 52.2 billion yen was spent on its development.

The satellite will be in orbit about 36,000 kilometers above the Earth. Its three antennas will enable Internet communication across about one-third of the Earth’s surface, including Japan and Southeast Asia. It is designed to be used in emergencies, such as when terrestrial communication facilities are damaged by a natural disaster, and in remote areas, such as isolated islands, where ordinary high-speed Internet communication facilities are unavailable.

Ninety-one technological demonstration experiments are planned to be carried out with the satellite.

Source: http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/features/science/20080224TDY01304.htm

Advertisements