Status Report

H-IIA F3 Launch Vehicle and Satellites Operations in Progress

By SpaceRef Editor
August 15, 2002
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Launch operations of H-IIA F3 are on schedule. H-IIA F3 will transport the
Data Relay Test Satellite (DRTS) and Unmanned Space Experiment Recovery
System (USERS) to the space.

Today, we would like to briefly explain about DRTS.

As its name shows, DRTS is a data relay satellite that is like a “relay
station in the space” to make connection between the earth and satellites in
the space. Many satellites are now in the space, and some of them are flying
at the lower altitude or closer to the earth (those which are in less than
about 1,000km-altitude of the earth). Those lower-orbited satellites circle
around the earth in about one and half hours. Since they fly so fast, one
ground station can communicate in real time with each of them only less than
20 minutes at one time at best, hence data exchange is very limited.

DRTS will be in Geostationary orbit (at 36,000km away from the earth) that
is much higher than lower-orbited satellites looking at them below. From the
earth, DRTS will look like always being in the same position in the space.
It means that DRTS and one designated spot, which is in the direct view of
DRTS, on the earth will always be connected because DRTS is a Geostationary

Therefore, with DRTS, lower-orbited satellites can send real-time data much
longer, and ground stations will acquire more useful information for
analysis. Especially, the data from the earth observation satellites are
often very important to be acquired in real time for emergency measures for
natural disasters. Hence DRTS is expected to play an important role.

In addition, DRTS is expected to provide positive effect in cost and
manpower saving. Without DRTS, we need many ground stations to acquire data
from lower-orbited satellites in real time. With DRTS, it works instead of
those many stations, thus costs for facilities and manpower can be saved.

DRTS is currently carefully inspected and prepared for the approaching
launch at the Tanegashima Space Center.

SpaceRef staff editor.