Japan’s H2A Rocket Lofts Quasi-Zenith Sat

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Japan successfully launched its first Quasi-Zenith navigation satellite Sept. 11 from the Tanegashima Space Center aboard a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries-built H2A rocket, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) reported. The satellite was built by Mitsubishi Electric Corp.

Renamed Michibiki following the launch, the satellite is designed to rebroadcast enhanced GPS navigation signals to hard-to-reach areas in Japan, such as urban canyons and mountainous terrain. JAXA envisions launching multiple Quasi-Zenith satellites into modified geosynchronous orbits that appear as figure eights relative to Earth to maximize their time above Japan.