JAXA preps first launch of 2017 with DSN-2 communications satellite
The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is preparing their H-IIA rocket to launch the DSN-2 – also known as Kirameki 2 – communications satellite from the Tanegashima Space Center (TNSC). The rocket is scheduled to lift off at the beginning of a 1-hour, 14-minute window that opens at 2:44 a.m. EST (07:44 GMT) on Jan. 24, 2017.
Though capable of lofting multiple payloads, this launch of the H-IIA 204 will be for a single passenger – the DSN-2 communications satellite. The X band-only satellite is designed to support Japanese military communications and is built on the Mitsubishi Electric Company (MELCO) DS2000 spacecraft bus.
The DS2000 spacecraft is an indigenous Japanese design, and the first standardized satellite bus to be manufactured in the country. Sporting a power generating capability of up to 15 kilowatts, the satellite has an on-orbit design life of at least 15 years.
It will be the job of the reliable H-IIA rocket to deliver DSN-2 to its intended geostationary orbit. Outfitted in the 204 configuration – four SRB-A3 solid-fueled boosters, along with a single LE-7A liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen-fueled engine – the H-IIA will launch from the Yoshinobu Launch Complex at TNSC.
The rocket’s second stage is powered by a lone LE-5B engine. Like its first stage sibling, the LE-5B is also fueled by liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen (often shortened as “hydrolox”) and provides 30,800 lbf (137 kN) of thrust in vacuum.
The H-IIA 204 stands at nearly 174 feet (53 meters) in height and can deliver up to 13,227 pounds (6 metric tons) of hardware to geostationary orbit. The H-IIA, in all its configurations, has been a reliable vehicle for Japan, with a launch success rate of nearly 97 percent.
Curt Godwin has been a fan of space exploration for as long as he can remember, keeping his eyes to the skies from an early age. Initially majoring in Nuclear Engineering, Curt later decided that computers would be a more interesting - and safer - career field. He's worked in education technology for more than 20 years, and has been published in industry and peer journals, and is a respected authority on wireless network engineering. Throughout this period of his life, he maintained his love for all things space and has written about his experiences at a variety of NASA events, both on his personal blog and as a freelance media representative.