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On 1 October 2003, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) was created through the merging of three separate Japanese space and aeronautics organisations: the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), which was devoted to space and planetary research; the National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan (NAL), which focused on research and development of next-generation aviation; and the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA), which was responsible for development of large-size launch vehicles, as represented by H-IIA, satellites, and the International Space Station.

The consolidation of these three organisations has allowed for a continuous and systematic approach to space exploration, from basic research to development and practical application. It also means that the best of Japan's advanced modern aerospace technologies are gathered together - a concentration of technologies that is expected to create new energy to propel Japan's efforts challenges to space. As a leading industrial nation, Japan is responsible for taking the initiative in the creation of scientific knowledge. JAXA endeavors to add a new page to the history of aerospace development, putting Japan on the same footing as other space-technology advanced nations.

For more information on the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, please visit:

Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 (ALOS-2)


JAXA's new satellite "DAICHI-2", also called "ALOS (Advanced Land Observing Satellite) -2" was launched on 24 May 2014 from Tanegashima Space Center. The predecessor of "DAICHI-2", "DAICHI" (ALOS) was launched in January 2006 and continued its mission until May 2011. "DAICHI" acquired about 6.5 million images around the world and JAXA provided many of them to disaster management communities including the International Charter and Sentinel Asia.

Although its predecessor was equipped with both optical and radar sensors, the payload of "DAICHI-2" is only the L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar called "PALSAR-2". Unlike optical sensors, radar sensors can penetrate clouds so it is expected that observation requests for "DAICHI-2" will be strong.

"DAICHI-2" has three observation modes. The highest resolution mode is 1-3m Spotlight mode and the widest swath is 350km or 490km from ScanSAR mode. JAXA will continue to contribute to the International Charter mission with this new satellite.

For more information on ALOS-2, click here.

Kibo HDTV-EF - Imagery asset onboard the International Space Station (ISS)


JAXA has two COTS-based High Definition TV cameras installed on one of the Exposed Payloads (MCE: Multi-mission Consolidated Equipment) attached to the "KIBO" Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) Exposed Facility (EF) of the ISS. One is positioning local vertical nadir and another is tilted to the left by 10 degrees. The HDTV camera has optical zooming function; a 240m resolution with 350km swath strip in wide mode or a 120m resolution with 175km swath strip in x2 zoom mode.

The imagery is provided in video (movie) data and some geo-tiff images generated from the video data. These data are effective especially for disasters that require large area coverage, such as floods, oil spills or volcanoes. The observation of disasters on Earth using the HDTV video data from the Kibo/ISS is quite new.