Japanese H-2A rocket launches new advanced GPS satellite into orbit

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The Japanese H-2A rocket launched a new navigation satellite into orbit on Monday, October 25.

The rocket lifted off from Tanegashima Space Center in Japan at 10:19 p.m. EDT Monday (2:19 a.m. GMT, or 11:19 a.m. local time on Tuesday, October 26), according to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which builds and operates the H-2A. rockets from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). “It was a really nice launch,” said the company tweeted after a successful take off.

The QZS-1R satellite replaces the Near-zenith satellite system 1 satellite launched for the first time in 2010. The official website of the QZSS lists four satellites of the constellation: QZS-1, QZS-2, QZS-3 and QZS-4.

Related: How GPS Systems Help People Navigate

A Japanese H-2A rocket launches the QZS-R1 navigation satellite into orbit from the Tanegashima Space Center.

A Japanese H-2A rocket launches the QZS-R1 navigation satellite into orbit. (Image credit: MHI)

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries confirmed approximately 28 minutes after take-off that the QZS-R1 satellite had successfully separated from the upper stage of the rocket

The QZSS constellation will eventually consist of a total of seven satellites that will fly in an orbit passing through a near zenith (or directly over Japan), and QZS-R1 is expected to share almost the same transmission signals as the recent GPS satellites, according to JAXA. It is specially optimized for mountainous and urban areas of Japan, JAXA said.

Mitsubishi Industries launched the satellite on an H-2A 202 rocket. The launch system has been operational since 2003 and has sent satellites to places such as Venus (Akatsuki) and Mars (Emirates Mars Mission). It was the first launch of the H2-A since November 29, 2020, when Japan launched an advanced relay satellite with laser communication technology into orbit.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.



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