Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully launched a new advanced Earth observation satellite. Equipped with X-band radar, this latest Earth observation satellite will capture high-resolution terrain images while revolving around the Earth. The satellite also has the Advanced Satellite New System Architecture for Observation (ASNARO-2), launched by a third-generation Epsilon rocket. The launch took place at the Uchinoura Space Center in the southwestern prefecture of Kagoshima, Japan.
JAXA released the official statement saying, “The launch and flight of Epsilon-3 took place normally.” It was approximately the 52nd minute of the flight when the ASNARO-2 satellite, weighing 570 kg, got successfully detached from the rocket.
ASNARO-2 is developed mostly by the Japanese tech firm NEC. It will revolve around the Earth for the next five years. While revolving, it will maintain an altitude of about 500 km. It is expected to deliver all-weather radar imagery at a 1-meter resolution on the ground. This marks the very first launch of a JAXA Epsilon rocket ordered by a private company. The Japanese Aerospace agency hopes to take this trend forward. The Epsilon is designed to be smaller than the usual rockets. It’s done to reduce the cost of launching of the small-sized satellite.
The launch cost about $36 million. It is almost half of what it costs in case of conventional rockets. Epsilon has come a long way since their first launch, back in September 2013. At that time they successfully launched the first remote planetary observing space telescope into orbit.