Microsatellite Led by Fukui Pref. to Be Launched Sat.

Science Society Technology Politics

Fukui, March 19 (Jiji Press)--A microsatellite developed in a project undertaken by the Fukui prefectural government and companies in the central Japan prefecture is set to be launched from Kazakhstan space center Baikonur Cosmodrome on Saturday.

It will be the first time for a satellite developed under the lead of a Japanese local government to be launched. Engineers and others who have spent about six years on the project are waiting with bated breath for the moment to send the satellite into space.

The satellite, dubbed Suisen, which is 60 centimeters in length and width, and 80 centimeters in height, and weighs 100 kilograms, will be carried by a Soyuz rocket of Russia. Images to be sent from the satellite will be used for disaster management, such as assessing the extent of damage from landslides and river flooding.

The project is aimed at building up knowledge on production of satellites and utilization of data from them in order to nurture new pillar industries in the prefecture. It came also as the prefecture was boosting efforts to find ways to resolve local issues, such as revitalizing the regional economy amid depopulation and the aging of society.

"We thought that we would be able to utilize techniques we developed through the production of eyeglasses and textiles," which are key industries of Fukui, said an official of the prefectural government's industrial technology division.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press