Japan launched a fourth satellite for a new high-precision global positioning system (GPS) it hopes will encourage new businesses and help spur economic growth.
An H-2A rocket carrying Japan's fourth and final quasi-zenith satellite, the Michibiki No. 4, lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan on Oct 10.
Having four satellites that loop over Japan and Australia in a figure of eight orbit will allow for uninterrupted coverage and puts engineers on course to switch the system on in April.
Japanese GPS can locate devices to within several centimeters compared with the commonly-used U.S. system, which has an accuracy of about 10 meters.
Japan plans to have seven of the geo-positioning satellites in orbit by 2023. Quasi-Zenith Satellite System
- The Quasi-Zenith Satellite System is a three-satellite regional time transfer system in development and the satellite-based augmentation system for the Global Positioning System that would be receivable within Japan.
- Planned completion date: 2017.
- Start date: September 11, 2010.
- Cost: 170 billion JPY.
- Regime(s): 3x GSO.
- Total satellites: 4 (7 in the future).
- Country/ies of origin: Japan.
- Operator: JAXA