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Japan's Defense Ministry to launch first communications satellite

The Japan Times

An H-2A rocket carrying the Kirameki-2 defense communication satellite will be launched by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. at 4:44 p.m. from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture. The Kirameki-2 satellite is one of three defense communications satellites that will replace three civilian satellites currently used by the Self-Defense Forces. According to Defense Ministry officials, the new satellites will enhance direct communication among units of the Ground, Maritime and Air Self-Defense Forces through a high-speed and high-capacity network amid increased North Korean missile activity and potential threats to the nation's remote islands. The ministry plans to position the Kirameki-2 over the Indian Ocean and expects the satellite to also be utilized by SDF personnel taking part in U.N. peacekeeping operations in South Sudan and those participating in an anti-piracy mission in waters off Somalia, it said. The launch of the Kirameki-2 precedes that of the Kirameki-1, which is undergoing repair after it was damaged during transportation to a launch site in French Guiana in South America.


Japan's Defense Ministry successfully launches first communications satellite

The Japan Times

An H-IIA rocket carrying the Kirameki-2 defense communication satellite was launched by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture. The Kirameki-2 satellite is one of three defense communications satellites that will replace three civilian satellites currently used by the Self-Defense Forces. According to Defense Ministry officials, the new satellites will enhance direct communication among units of the Ground, Maritime and Air Self-Defense Forces through a high-speed and high-capacity network amid increased North Korean missile activity and potential threats to the nation's remote islands. The ministry plans to position the Kirameki-2 over the Indian Ocean and expects the satellite to also be utilized by SDF personnel taking part in U.N. peacekeeping operations in South Sudan and those participating in an anti-piracy mission in waters off Somalia, it said. The launch of the Kirameki-2 precedes that of the Kirameki-1, which is undergoing repair after it was damaged during transportation to a launch site in French Guiana in South America.


India-surges-in-space-race-as-its-most-powerful-rocket-launches-satellite-into-orbit

Christian Science Monitor

June 5, 2017 NEW DELHI--India launched a communication satellite using its most powerful rocket on Monday, improving its prospects of winning a bigger share of the more than $300 billion global space industry and its hopes of a manned mission. The 13-story high rocket, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mk III, or "Fat Boy," lifted off from the Sriharikota space center in southern India at 5:28 p.m. in clear blue skies. In May, India launched a communications satellite for its smaller neighbors to share, part of its efforts to build goodwill in the region. India's share of global launch services industry is about 0.6 percent, government data shows.


Japan eyes new defense unit to monitor space from ASDF base in west Tokyo

The Japan Times

The Defense Ministry has decided to make a budget request for a new space monitoring unit to be set up in fiscal 2020 within its air forces, government sources said Wednesday. The unit, which is aimed at tracking space debris that poses a threat to Japanese surveillance satellites, as well as satellites operated by other countries, is expected to initially be staffed by about 70 personnel. The ministry plans to deploy the unit to the Air Self-Defense Force's base in Fuchu, western Tokyo, the sources said, adding that its systems will be linked with those of the United States, and information obtained will be shared by the two countries. The proposed creation of the monitoring unit comes as countries such as China and Russia have been advancing space research for military purposes. Under its national defense guidelines outlined in December, Japan said it will beef up its defense capabilities in new domains of warfare such as outer space and cyberspace.


Japan launches new squadron to step up defense in outer space

The Japan Times

The Defense Ministry established on Monday the Space Operations Squadron, the Self-Defense Forces' first unit dedicated to outer space. The squadron, part of the Air Self-Defense Force, will monitor space debris and suspicious satellites to prevent collisions with Japanese satellites. It will be based at the ASDF's Fuchu base in Tokyo with an initial size of around 20 personnel, and is slated to grow to about 100 members in the future. The unit will focus on training and cooperation with the United States and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to establish a space monitoring system in fiscal 2023. It will aim to launch a satellite for assessing the space environment by the end of fiscal 2026.