Tokyo, June 4 (Jiji Press)–The Defense Ministry plans to introduce a satellite constellation system to strengthen Japan’s capabilities of detecting and tracking missiles heading for the country or the United States, its sole ally, it was learned Thursday.
The plan is specified in a draft revision to the government’s basic space policy plan. The draft was approved by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party the same day and is expected to gain cabinet approval later this month, informed sources said.
The constellation system, in which many small missile warning satellites go around the same orbit, can track projectiles more accurately and is much less vulnerable to anti-satellite weapons attacks than a single satellite system, a ministry official said, adding that launching small satellites in a bundle is cheaper than sending a large one into orbit.
Although the ministry is starting discussions on launching small satellites and setting up ground facilities, Japan cannot decide when to introduce the constellation satellite system until it obtains cooperation from the United States, which leads in the practical use of the system, people familiar with the matter said.
The draft revision to the 10-year basic policy plan underscores the importance of enhancing space security and promoting Japan’s space exploration with other countries.
The revision will be adopted after being examined by the space development strategy task force, headed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.