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Investigation and Consulting

Investigations regarding the space developing and utilization, and the feasibility study and the consulting activities for emerging countries have been performed.
The research activities regarding the Space Competitiveness of Japanese space development, enhancement of the relation between emerging countries, investigation activities for utilization of the Earth Observation Satellite data are also performed.

Research and Development

Our activities are harmonized and balanced research and development activities regarding total system (satellite system, launch system, ground system and emote sensing technologies) from satellite, ground and to their utilization field.
SFU, EXPRESS and USERS project were performed as micro-gravity environment utilization system. ARH was performed as Robot Hand experiment.
At the USERS project, pin pointed return of the results if the on-orbit experiment was successfully performed, and established the space environment utilization infrastructure.
At the Advanced Satellite Engineering Research (ASER) project, we developed 1)High capacity thermal control system technology, 2)Next generation electric propulsion system, 3) Precise correction experiment of the onboard X'tal oscillator by ground based atomic clock, 4)Large size composite structure manufacturing technology, 5) High energy density Li-ION battery system.

The instrument development of ASTER/Terra satellite (US-Japan cooperation) and PALSAR/ALOS satellite were successfully conducted, after the significant improvement of their function and performance and as the successor to OPS and SAR onboard JERS-1 satellite. In addition, the development of data processing and application technologies has also been conducted.

Current research and development project entrusted under METI are as follows.

Apace Environment Reliability Verification Integrated System (SERVIS)

Adoption of the commercial parts and technology in the component and verify them in space environment, which are superior in technical and quality aspect, to enhance the competitiveness of our space industries. The activities consisted of:

  • Ground simulation test
  • Verification test on orbit
  • Establish and maintain database of commercial parts and technologies
  • Establishment and maintain of the selection/evaluation and application guideline.

Space Solar Power Station (SSPS)

For the development of the wireless power transmission technology, which is the key technology of the Space Solar Power Station, the issues for the realization of the Space Solar Power Station are going to be extracted by out door ground test of microwave power transmission experiment model.

Air Launch System Enabling Technology (ALSET)

The study and research activities, arrangement of issues, study of the solution and the investigation of the legal aspect for the realization of the air launch system and the realization of the private enterprise for the satellite launch by air launch system.

Advanced Satellite with New System Architecture for Observation (ASNARO)

Small but high performance satellite which will be dominate in the World Market and also the development structure of it are performed.

  • System development architecture
  • Standardized small satellite bus
  • High performance optical sensor

R&D on Hyperspectral Imager Suite (HISUI)

Development of hyperspectral and multi-spectral instruments, which is the successor to ASTER instrument, is ongoing.

  • Instrument development
  • Development of application technologies for hyperspectral data
  • Development of ground data system

Application study for oil and gas exploration and development

The application development for the oil and gas industry principally using ASTER and PALSAR data has been conducted.

  • Potentiality analysis in African Great Rift Valley
  • Unconventional reservoirs study (Shale gas, Coal bed methane, Oil sand)
  • Surface subsidence monitoring in giant oil fields
  • Offshore block evaluation (Oil slick analysis)

Project on resource potential analysis support using global remote sensing datasets

GRS project develops "online web GIS system" consisting of seamless global mosaic images created from ASTER and PALSAR data.
The system also provides detailed "Altered mineral zone map", "Mineral index map", "Lineament map" and other mining industry information and infrastructures useful for mining development planning or investment decision making as multilayered maps in promising areas of base and rare metal resources.

Regarding research and development activities, the following items are also performed.

  • Next generation launch system
  • Next generation spacecraft system and their constellation
  • Next generation observation system
  • Space Environment Utilization system (Including sub-orbital flight experiment)
  • Investigation of Global Dataset Generation Technology


Total operation from launch to the mission completion was performed for SFU, USERS and SERVIS project with full success. USERS, the microgravity utilization experiment satellite, was returned to the earth with on-orbit experiment after long period on the pre-planned orbit experiment operation, and after orbit adjustment for the return.
OPS and SAR on JERS-1 and PALSAR on ALOS contributed to the environment and disaster monitoring and resource investigation.
Regarding the PALSAR data, to which there are frequent request, the product from archived data are provided as requested with proper data quality control.
ASTER which continues the operation, product generation, archive and distribution from the observation data with proper quality control as requested from the users as well as calibration and validation of the sensors.

General satellite operation are as follows as indicated according to the operational phase.

  • Launch the satellite into designated orbit by launch vehicle, and start tracking and control, and perform initial check out including ground system evaluation.
  • Perform mission instrument operation and receive mission instrument data according to the operation request.
  • In the case of the Earth Observation Satellite, capture the observation data of the user requested region, and processed and provided to the users. And more, the calibration and the validation of the data will be performed to certify the quality of the data.

Data to Information

It is important to extract the information which user needs from the Earth observing data.
Some examples of "data to information" are shown.

  • Resources
    Information on potential prospecting region, logistics on exploitation planning, production status and environmental status accompanying production activities.
  • Environment
    Pollution information in the coastal area and inland lake, information of green spaces in urban environment, etc.
  • Disaster
    Information on damaged area by earthquake, status of land subsidence, flooded region and its temporal change, landslide distribution and collapsed volume, etc.
  • Land management
    Information on land use change and coastal erosion, etc.
  • Regarding the space environment utilization, establishment of the database of commercial parts and technologies, establishment of the selection/evaluation and application guideline, and the preparation and promotion of the USERS user manual were conducted.

International Cooperation and Capacity Building

For the new emerging countries, the various support activities for the space development and the promotion of the space utilization will be performed as requested.
In the applications of Earth observing data, the capacity building program (especially for the data processing and information mining from imageries) is established. Young engineers are regularly invited from new-emerging countries.

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