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The first Quasi-Zenith Satellite, "MICHIBIKI"

The first Quasi-Zenith Satellite, 'MICHIBIKI'
On September 11, 2010, the first Quasi-Zenith Satellite, MICHIBIKI(note 1), was launched from the Tanegashima Space Center(note 2) as the first stage of a Quasi-Zenith Satellite system. It has the aim of achieving a positioning service with higher accuracy than existing GPS satellites. MICHIBIKI will be used to conduct technological proving and experimental utilization related to complementing and enhancing GPS.

 

GPS Availability Enhancement

The combination of a Quasi-Zenith Satellite at a high angle of elevation (basically right overhead) working with GPS allows for more accurate acquisition of positioning and time information; especially in places such as urban canyon and mountainous areas where gaining such information is difficult by GPS alone.

GPS Performance Enhancement

MICHIBIKI will broadcast highly accurate satellite orbit information including the orbits of the GPS satellites, clock error information, and information on electromagnetic wave delays due to the effects of the ionosphere. This will allow more accurate determination of times and positions than by GPS alone.

Positioning information services are utilized in various fields including cellular phones, car navigation, traffic, transportation, measurement, forestry, fishery, and crime-prevention. However, positioning accuracy by GPS satellites is adversely affected in mountainous areas and by building shadows. Depending on GPS satellite visibility conditions, there are frequently cases where positioning accuracy is insufficient. MICHIBIKI is expected to offer a new positioning information service and a broader range of applications through more accurate positioning information regardless of geographic conditions.

Fujitsu has been working on achieving a highly accurate positioning information service through the development, operational preparation, and operation of MICHIBIKI. Fujitsu is supporting the creation of safe and secure societies and living conditions by contributing to space development projects.

System developments

  • The development of a Quasi-Zenith Satellite tracking and control system
    Orbital dynamics calculation, and satellite data processing
  • The development of a highly accurate positioning experimentation system
    High accuracy orbit and time estimation, creation of navigational message sources, and offline evaluation

Operation support

  • Operational study and operational preparation of tracking control and orbital dynamics system
  • Operation of orbital dynamics system at launch phase, initial check out phase, and normal operation phase
  • Evaluation analysis of technological demonstration experiments using the highly accurate positioning experimentation system
The first Quasi-Zenith Satellite, 'MICHIBIKI'The first Quasi-Zenith Satellite, "MICHIBIKI"

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Footnotes

1: The first Quasi-Zenith Satellite, "MICHIBIKI"

QZSS (Quasi-Zenith Satellite System) is a satellite positioning system, as exemplified by GPS in the USA and Galileo, which is under development in Europe. In the Japanese system, multiple satellites travel around an inclined geosynchronous Earth orbit called a quasi-zenith orbit so that there is always one satellite at the zenith of Japan.

2: Tanegashima Space Center

The Tanegashima Space Center was established in 1969 when the former National Space Development Agency of Japan was formed, and is the largest rocket launch site in Japan.