Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) decided to launch the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 24 (H-IIA F24) with the Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 (ALOS-2) onboard in the following schedule.
To capitalize on the excess launch capability of the H-IIA F24, we will also provide launch and orbit injection opportunities for four small secondary payloads (piggyback payloads).
Gazing into Earth's Expression
The Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 (ALOS-2) is follow-on mission from the "DAICHI", which contributed to cartography, regional observation, disaster monitoring, and resource surveys. ALOS-2 will succeed this mission with enhanced capabilities.
Specifically, JAXA is conducting research and development activities to improve wide and high-resolution observation technologies developed for DAICHI in order to further fulfill social needs.
These social needs include: 1) Disaster monitoring of damage areas, both in cosiderable detail, and when these areas may be large 2) Continuous updating of data archives related to national land and infrastructure information 3) Effective monitoring of cultivated areas 4) Global monitoring of tropical rain forests to identify carbon sinks.
The state-of-the-art L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (PALSAR-2) aboard ALOS-2, which is an active microwave radar using the 1.2GHz frequency range, will, in responding to society's needs, have enhanced performance compared to DAICHI/PALSAR. The PALSAR-2 is capable of observing day and night, and in all weather conditions.
Precise diagnosis of the earth using "L-band SAR" Japanese advanced technology
ALOS-2 will have a spotlight mode (1 to 3m) and a high resolution mode (3 to 10m), whilst PALSAR has a 10m resolution. It will allow comprehensive monitoring of disasters by providing users with more detailed data than DAICHI/PALSAR.
The observation frequency of ALOS-2 will be improved by greatly expanding the observable range of the satellite up to about 3 times, througe an improvement in obserble areas (from 870km to 2,320km), as well as giving ALOS-2 a right-and-left looking function, currently not available on DAICHI/PALSAR.
|Scheduled date of Launch||:||May 24 (Saturday), 2014 (Japan Standard Time)|
|Launch time||:||12:05 thru 12:20 p.m. (Japan Standard Time)|
|Launch Window||:||May 25 (Sunday) through June 30 (Monday), 2014.|
Yoshinobu Launch Complex at the Tanegashima Space Cente
Launch Time and Window of
H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 24 with “DAICHI-2” (ALOS-2) onboard
Japanese craft launched with night-vision mapping radar
Weighing approximately 2.3 tons, the spacecraft took off at 0305:14 GMT Saturday (11:05:14 p.m. EDT Friday) from the Tanegashima Space Center, Japan's primary rocket launching facility at the southwestern end of the country. Liftoff occurred at 12:05 p.m. Japan Standard Time.
The 17-story H-2A rocket streaked into the midday sky, depositing a trail of fire and smoke in its wake. The H-2A launcher's hydrogen-fueled LE-7A engine and twin solid-fueled boosters collectively produced 1.6 million pounds of thrust to loft the orange and white rocket into the upper atmosphere.
The rocket shed its two boosters about two minutes after liftoff, jettisoned its 13.1-foot-diameter (4-meter) nose a couple of minutes later, then shut down the first stage main engine at a velocity of 7,000 mph.
The second stage's LE-5B engine ignited for an eight-minute firing to place ALOS 2 and four small secondary payloads in orbit 400 miles above Earth.
The rocket deployed ALOS 2, also dubbed Daichi 2 for the Japanese word for land, at 0321 GMT (11:21 p.m. EDT).
While the H-2A rocket released four university-built microsatellites a few minutes later, ALOS 2 extended two electricity-generating solar arrays to a wingspan of 54 feet to begin charging the craft's batteries.
Designed to last at least five years, ALOS 2 follows Japan's previous land mapping mission, which operated from 2006 to 2011 before suffering a catastrophic power failure. Japan lost the ALOS mission just six weeks after it was tasked with observing damage in the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that ravaged the Japanese coastline north of Tokyo, killing thousands and triggering the crisis Fukushima nuclear power plant.
The first ALOS satellite carried an optical stereo camera system, a radiometer and an L-band radar, combining the sensors aboard a single spacecraft.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency decided to launch the follow-up ALOS 2 satellite with an enhanced version of the L-band radar carried aboard the first mission. Another spacecraft, named ALOS 3, is set for launch in 2016 with a high-resolution optical imaging payload.
Before it can start its mapping mission, ALOS 2 must complete a three-step procedure to deploy the satellite's L-band microwave radar antenna. The rectangular-shaped array, consisting of radar transmitters and receivers, measures more than 30 feet long and about 10 feet wide.
The schedule calls for the antenna's release from the satellite's main body about 13 hours after launch, then the unfurling of the array's two wings at 24 hours and 34 hours after launch, according to a mission press kit released by JAXA.
Two X-band antennas needed to relay the radar data to ground stations on Earth will deploy two days after launch. The communications antennas will send data at a rate six times faster than the first ALOS mission.