Japan joins US, India in space

In the wake of the excitement over NASA’s MAVEN and India’s Mars Orbiter Mission, Japan has launched its own satellite—but this one plans to stay closer to home.

Japan’s satellite, Himawari-8, will remain in orbit above Asia to study weather patterns. Nicknamed “The Sunflower Satellite,” Himawari-8 is part of the World Weather Watch program launched by the World Meteorological Organization to help prepare for disaster conditions.

Himawari-8 is equipped with high-resolution color cameras nicknamed “Advanced Himawari Imagers.” The cameras are able to observe visible, near-infrared, and infrared light. Himawari’s cameras can scan all of Japan in just two and a half minutes and send data to the Japan Meteorological Agency every ten minutes. The agency hopes that the improved data and response time provided by the satellite will enable quicker mobilization in disaster situations, such as typhoons.

Eric Webster, vice president of the company that designed Himawari’s cameras, is excited about the applications for his product. “Japan has been hit by several large typhoons recently and technology will provide significant improved capabilities for severe storm forecasting,” he said.—Spaceflight Insider

Read more at:Japan successfully launches sunflower satallite

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