Japan Launches Satellite For Improved GPS System

Cornelia Mascio
Agosto 19, 2017

Japan on Saturday launched the third satellite in its effort to build a homegrown geolocation system aimed at improving the accuracy of auto navigation systems and smart phone maps to mere centimeters.

A H-IIA rocket carrying Michibiki 3 satellite, one of four satellites that will augment regional navigational systems, lifts off from the launching pad at Tanegashima Space Center on the southwestern island of Tanegashima, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo August 19, 2017. 3 satellite was released about 30 minutes later.

Michibiki satellites are used to determine locations of objects on earth and the system's first satellite was sent into space seven years ago, and the second was launched earlier this year.

The launch, overseen by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, was initially scheduled for last week two times.

Satellite geolocation systems, initially designed for the US military, are now driving countless civilian applications ranging from vehicle navigation systems to internet browsers in mobile phones.

The satellite went into the planned orbit around 2.57 p.m.

While Japan relies on the U.S. Global Positioning System, Saturday's launch was part of a broader plan to build a domestic version using four satellites focused on Japan and its immediate surroundings. The fourth is to be launched by March 2018 to start the service.

The satellite was manufactured by Mitsubishi Electric Corp and was blasted into orbit by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.

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