Global Precipitation Measurement Core Observatory Satellite Launched

Japan’s space agency has successfully launched an H2A rocket carrying a satellite that can survey precisely rainfall on most of the earth.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency says the rocket lifted off at 3:37 AM from Tanegashima Space Center, southern Japan.

It flew as planned and released the satellite 16 minutes after launch at the height of 400 kilometers.

The satellite, co-developed by Japan and the US, is aimed at a detailed monitoring of rainfall on the earth using radars.

JAXA, Japan’s space agency, sets world record for unmanned balloon

Japan’s space agency says it has set a world record by sending an observation balloon to an altitude of more than 53,000 meters.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, said on Friday it released the unmanned balloon earlier in the day from a test site in Hokkaido in northern Japan.

JAXA officials say the balloon ascended at a speed of 250 meters a minute. It reached an altitude of 53,700 meters in 160 minutes.

The helium balloon is 60 meters wide and is made of a film just 3 micrometers thick. The agency says it’s the world’s thinnest balloon.

JAXA officials later destroyed the balloon by remote control. It fell into the ocean 150 kilometers from the test site.

JAXA’s New SPRINT-A Observation Satellite Launch Set for August

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has unveiled its new planetary observation satellite, which is scheduled to be launched in August, to the press at its Kanagawa Prefecture campus.

The satellite, known as the Spectroscopic Planet Observatory for Recognition of Interaction of Atmosphere (SPRINT-A), is about four meters tall and seven meters wide, and cost about 4.8 billion yen to develop.

The SPRINT-A is designed to orbit Earth at an altitude of about 1,000 kilometers.

Japan to send up space telescope satellite to study atmosphere

Japan is sending a space telescope into orbit around the Earth to observe Venus, Mars, and Jupiter, officials said on Friday, as they look to unlock the secrets of our own planet’s atmosphere.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) plans to launch a satellite later this year equipped with an ultraviolet telescope that will probe the gases surrounding three of our nearest neighbours in the solar system.

Scientists hope this will help them understand the conditions that created the dense, life-supporting atmosphere of Earth, JAXA said in a statement.

They also want to understand if solar winds have any effect on Jupiter’s magnetosphere, the area of space around the planet where the particles fall under the sway of its magnetic field.

The satellite, weighing 320 kilogrammes (700 pounds), will go around the Earth in an elliptical orbit between 950 and 1,150 kilometres (between 600 and 700 miles) high, officials said.

Read the rest of the story: Japan readies space telescope to study atmosphere.

JAXA Rocket Information Stolen by Computer Virus

Japan’s space agency said on Friday that information on one of its newest rockets was stolen from a desktop computer by someone using a computer virus.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said that the virus in a computer at its Tsukuba Space Center northeast of Tokyo was found to be secretly collecting data and sending it outside the agency. The agency said that after the virus was detected by antivirus software on Nov. 21, it conducted an emergency sweep for viruses that showed no other computers at the center had been infected.

Read the rest of the story: Japan’s Space Agency Says Rocket Information Was Stolen by Computer Virus.

Astronauts touch down on Kazakhstan Steppe

Three astronauts touched down in the dark, chilly expanses of central Kazakhstan onboard a Soyuz capsule Monday after a 125-day stay at the International Space Station.

NASA’s Sunita Williams, Russian astronaut Yury Malenchenko and Aki Hoshide of Japan’s JAXA space agency landed at 07:56 a.m. local time (0156 GMT) northeast of the town of Arkalyk.

Eight helicopters rushed search-and-recovery crew to assist the crew, whose capsule did not parachute onto the exact planned touchdown site due to a minimal delay in procedures.

Williams, Malenchenko and Hoshide undocked from the space station Sunday at 1023 GMT to begin their return to earth.

Around 28 minutes before touchdown, the three modules of the Soyuz craft separated, leaving the 2.1-meter tall capsule to begin its entry into orbit.

A series of parachutes deployed to bring the capsule to gentle floating speed.

Winds pulled the descent module on its side in the snowy terrain, which is a common occurrence, but the crew was nonetheless swiftly hoisted out by the recovery crew and lifted onto reclining chairs and swaddled in blankets to shield them from the 12 Fahrenheit degree (-11 Celsius degree) temperature.

Japan Plans New Carrier Rocket Launch in 2013

Japan is planning to launch its new carrier rocket in summer of 2013, national space agency JAXA said, according to RIA Novosti.

JAXA’s goal is to have an inexpensive rocket to launch compact low-cost satellites into orbit. It will replace the M-5 rocket, a similar vehicle that carried out seven successful space missions between 1997 and 2006.

The three-stage solid-fuel launcher is designed to lift more than 2,600 pounds to low Earth orbit. The M-5 rocket could haul about 4,000 pounds to a similar orbit.

However, the launch of the Epsilon will cost about $48 million compared to the M-5, which carried a $70 million price tag for each launch.

Japan Spacecraft Docks at International Space Station

The third in a series of robotic Japanese spaceships safely arrived at the International Space Station on Friday, bearing a delivery of food, equipment and student science experiments for the orbital outpost.

The unmanned, school bus-size H-2 Transfer Vehicle-3 (HTV-3), also called Kounotori 3 (“White Stork” in Japanese), flew to about 40 feet (12 meters) away from the ISS, where it was grabbed at 8:23 a.m. ET by the space station’s 58-foot long (18 m) robotic arm, which was controlled from inside by astronauts Joe Acaba of NASA and Aki Hoshide of JAXA (the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency).

Using the Canadarm2 robotic arm, Acaba and Hoshide maneuvered Kounotori 3 to the Earth-facing docking port on the space station’s Harmony node at 10:34 a.m. ET.

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Japan Launching Robotic Cargo Ship to International Space Station

Japan is set to launch a new unmanned cargo spaceship to deliver goods to the International Space Station today July 20.

The robotic spacecraft, called H-2 Transfer Vehicle-3 HTV-3, is the third of its kind to travel to the orbiting laboratory, where six astronauts from three countries are currently living and working.

HTV-3 is due to lift off at 10:06 p.m. EDT 0206 GMT Saturday, or 11:06 a.m. Japan time Saturday from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan. The spacecraft will fly atop a Japanese H-2B rocket. It is the second launch toward the space station in a week. A Soyuz space capsule launched on late Saturday July 15 to ferry three members of the space stations crew to the orbiting lab.

Japan’s latest spaceship, nicknamed Kounotori 3 “White Stork 3” in Japanese, will take about a week to reach the 240 mile high 386 kilometers space station. It is scheduled to arrive on July 27, when astronauts inside the outpost will reach out and grab the Japanese vessel with the stations Canadarm2 robotic arm.

Read the rest of the story: Japan Launching Robotic Cargo Ship to Space Station Tonight.

Japan to Develop Drones to Seek Out Radiation

Japans atomic energy authority and the countrys space agency Tuesday announced a joint project to develop a drone to measure radioactivity in the environment after last years nuclear disaster.

Remote-controlled helicopters have been used but are not suitable for remote and mountainous territory as they have to fly low and the operator has to be able to see the aircraft, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency JAXA said.

But unmanned aircraft could fly at higher altitudes over potentially contaminated areas, resolving the issue.

Read the rest of the story: Japan to develop drones to monitor radiation.