Japanese First GPS Satellite Successfully Launched
A Mitusbishi-made 174ft-tall rocket blasted off from Japan’s Tanegashime Island and after 28 minutes the satellite broke away into orbit.
The Michibiki ‘showing the way’ satellite is part of a planned improvement on the current GPS system, which was developed by the US.
Currently, radio waves from a satellite can be hampered by skyscrapers or mountains.
Significant errors can be also caused by reflected waves, according to Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa).
Japan’s new Quasi-Zenith system works by placing satellites in multiple orbital planes, so that one satellite always appears near the zenith above the region of Japan.
As the Michibiki will only be above Japan for eight hours a day another two satellites were intended to provide Japan with a permanent strong signal.
But budgetary constraints have stalled plans for the second and third satellites, local media said.