Both the US and Japan successfully launched rockets carrying new satellites this month.
The United Launch Alliance successfully launched the sixth Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF-6 satellite on-board a Delata IV rocket for the US Air Force on May 16, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 “DAICHI-2” (ALOS-2) on-board a H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 24 (H-IIA F24).
GPS IIF-6 is the sixth in a series of next-generation GPS satellites and will join a worldwide timing and navigation system consisting of 24 satellites in six different planes, with a minimum of four satellites per plane positioned in orbit approximately 18,000 km above the Earth’s surface. The GPS IIF series satellites aim to provide improved accuracy and enhanced performance for GPS users.
JAXA’s Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 (ALOS-2) is follow-on mission from the “DAICHI”, which contributed to cartography, regional observation, disaster monitoring, and resource surveys. ALOS-2 will succeed this mission with enhanced capabilities. Specifically, JAXA is conducting research and development activities to improve wide and high-resolution observation technologies developed for DAICHI in order to further fulfil social needs.