Japan will launch the second satellite of its Global Change Observation Mission Saturday. The GCOM-C satellite will lift off from the Tanegashima Space Centre atop an H-IIA rocket during a 22-minute window that opens at 10:26:22 local time (01:26 UTC).
Saturday’s launch, which also carries the Super-Low Altitude Test Satellite (SLATS), is Japan’s seventh of the year. It comes two and a half months after the rocket’s previous mission delivered the fourth QZSS navigation satellite into orbit.
The Global Change Observation Mission (GCOM) is a project that is being undertaken by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to study long-term changes in Earth’s climate and water cycle. The project’s first satellite – Shizuku, or GCOM-W – was launched in May 2012 with an expected five-year operational lifespan, and remains in service. Shizuku is dedicated to monitoring Earth’s water cycle, while the GCOM-C satellite that is being launched on Saturday will focus on climate change. Once in orbit, the satellite will be renamed Shikisai.
GCOM – photo by NEC and JAXA
GCOM-C, which is also known as GCOM-C1, is a 2,093-kilogram (4,614 lb) spacecraft that is expected to operate for at least five years. The satellite carries an imaging payload that ...