The Ministry of Defense announced on Monday it might postpone the launch of an X-band communication satellite for use by the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) because the satellite may have been damaged during transport.
When launched, the satellite will be Japan’s first official military communication satellite. The ministry plans to use the satellite’s high-speed, high-volume communication capability to provide better support to the SDF deployed from the northwestern Pacific to the Indian Ocean.
The satellite, called “Kirameki 1,” uses Mitsubishi Electric Corporation’s DS2000 satellite platform. A dent with a depth of 40-50 cm was discovered in the container for the satellite that was probably inflicted during transit to Guyana where the launch was scheduled to take place using a rocket produced by leading European space transportation company Arianespace.
The ministry is hoping to put three satellites into orbit by the end of 2020. Preparation is underway for the next launch at the end of January 2017 from the Tanegashima Space Center using a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ H2A rocket.
The Kirameki 1 and 2 satellites will cost 128.8 billion yen, including operational expenses. (Abridged)