Japan’s Institute for Q-shu Pioneers of Space (iQPS) has plans to make 36-satellite constellation functional by 2025 to collect data and imagery with one-meter resolution.
The satellite will have a scan time of 10 minutes. And with this frequency and resolution, it can observe moving objects like vehicles and livestock.
Like many of its western counterparts, Japan’s Institute for Q-shu Pioneers of Space (iQPS) has ambitious plans for its Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) constellation. https://t.co/he6K4yoNAR pic.twitter.com/xXObHVZE7E
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iQPS was founded in 2005 by Tetsuo Yasaka and Akira Sakurai, professors emeritus of Kyushu University, and Kunihiro Funakoshi, a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries rocket developer. They have strived hard and had set up the space sector in Kyushu, Japan. According to Crunchbase, a business investment website, iQPS has raised around $28 million since it was established.
iQPS developed its first Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) in 2018 by the name Izanagi. It weighed 100 kilograms. And it was launched in 2019 by Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C48. It was launched from Sriharikota, India, and successfully deployed its parabolic antenna on 16 December 2019.
Izanami, the second satellite by iQPS, is scheduled to launch this December on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
The main reason for success is iQPS’s technical strength through which a 3.6m diameter parabolic antenna is developed for SAR. And that is what stores compactly for launch and is lightweight relative to its counterparts.
After the success of Izanagi, Shunsuke Onishi, CEO, iQPS, said, “We are on a good track and planning to acquire the first earth observation data soon after completing the calibration of the satellite. We look forward to releasing our high-resolution SAR imagery, which would be next month, and the first place to observe would be the northern Kyushu Island of Japan. IZANAGI is the first step of our project to establish real-time earth observation by 36-satellite constellation. And we are initiating our second satellite IZANAMI next year.”
The futuristic plan
iQPS plans to operate a 36-satellite constellation by 2025, to gather data and imagery with a resolution of one meter “of almost any point in the world within 10 minutes and to conduct fixed-point observations of particular areas once every 10 minutes,” iQPS spokeswoman Yuki Ariyoshi told SpaceNews via email.
Unlike the previous versions offered ‘near real-time’ updates on weather or earth observations, this new system will work more like ‘real-time Google Maps.’
To execute this, the engineers and researchers of the iQPS plan to increase parabolic antennas surface area, observation frequency of targets and equip satellites with propulsion systems.
The wheels are already moving, and iQPS is already in talks with prospective customers, SAR data, and imagery.
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