Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. have just announced that they will launch the Michibiki-2 satellite on 1 June 2017, at approximately 9.20am JST (Japan Standard Time), from the Tanegashima Space Center.
The launch comes sooner than expected, given the previous estimate of late 2017.
The satellite, manufactured by Mitsubishi Electric, will be carried by the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 34, a liquid-fuel rocket operated by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. It will be part of Japan’s satellite-based augmentation system, the Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS), and is the first of three Michibiki satellites that are scheduled to be launched this year.
The launch will take place at the Yoshinobu Launch Complex, with a reserved launch period from June 2 through June 30, 2017.
If successful, the Michibiki-2 will be Japan’s third satellite to be launched into orbit in 2017. This will be JAXA’s fourth launch attempt this year, the first being an unsuccessful experimental launch of a small research rocket in January. The second, conducted successfully on 24 January 2017, placed a communications satellite into the Geostationary Orbit, while the third was launched on March 17 2017, placing a the IGS Radar-5 reconnaissance satellite into an undisclosed orbital parameter.