On Tuesday, October 26, 2021, Japan successfully launched their QZS-1R satellite, from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture. This is a replacement for the nation’s aging Michibiki No. 1 satellite.
Manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., the Michibiki No. 1 satellite was launched in 2010 and has now reached the end of its operational life. Three, previously launched, Michibiki satellites will ‘work’ with the new unit, which will also complement the existing U.S. GPS satellite network.
An H-2A rocket carrying the satellite lifted off at 11:19 a.m. and weighed approximately 230 tons at liftoff. The rocket itself is 53 meters long. This was the 38th consecutive time Japan has successfully launched an H-2A rocket. Japanese GPS satellites on-orbit will be raised to seven in number during fiscal 2023 by the government to strengthen the nation’s GPS system with even more precise services.
Approximately 30 minutes post-launch, the satellite reached its designated orbital slot. Monday, October 25, had been the originally planned launch date but had to be postponed as the weather was too poor for liftoff.