First Satellite Launch Order Placed by Overseas Customer to MHI
(Tokyo, January 12, 2009) -- Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) has received an order from the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) to launch the Korea Multipurpose Satellite-3 (KOMPSAT-3). The transaction, which Mr. Hideaki Omiya, President of MHI, signed the agreement in Korea on January12, represents the first satellite launch services order placed to MHI by an overseas customer. The launch is slated to take place in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2012.
The KOMPSAT-3 mission objective is to provide satellite earth observation continuing from the KOMPSAT-1 and KOMPSAT-2 systems. KOMPSAT-3 is capable of higher image resolution than KOMPSAT-1 and -2 and can provide high-resolution electro-optical (EO) images required for geographical information systems (GIS) and other environmental, agricultural and oceanographic monitoring applications. It will operate from a sun-synchronous orbit.
KOMPSAT-3, which measures 2 meters in diameter and 3.5 meters in height, will be transported by ship from Korea to Tanegashima in Japan's Kagoshima Prefecture for launching by MHI's H-IIA launch vehicle at the Tanegashima Space Center of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Simultaneously launched by the same launch vehicle will be JAXA's GCOM-W (Global Change Observation Mission - Water), which is to undertake water-related observation from the sun-synchronous orbit.
Based on the KARI's request in 2007, MHI has proposed a launch services for KOMPSAT-3 by the H-IIA, and in October 2008, MHI has been selected by KARI as the Successful Bidder for the launch services provider (LSP). Through subsequent detailed negotiations, KARI and MHI agreed to finalize the contract.
The H-IIA launch vehicle is Japan's key launch vehicle, having already successfully concluded 13 of 14 launches. Since the seventh launch in February 2005, the H-IIA launch vehicle has recorded eight consecutive successful launches, a success rate equal to those of LSPs in Europe and the U.S. MHI plans to launch the Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite (GOSAT) by H-IIA No.15 in January 2009.
Starting from the launch of the N-1 launch vehicle in 1975, development of Japan's satellite launch vehicle - carried out largely by the National Aerospace Development Agency of Japan (NASDA), JAXA's predecessor - progressed to the N-II, H-I, H-II and H-IIA. MHI, which has played an important role in the development of each of these launch vehicles, was responsible for developing and manufacturing the H-IIA, a large-scale launch vehicle, as system integrator. Since April 2007, the company has been engaged in all activities relating to satellite launch services using the H-IIA, from manufacture through launch, being transferred the business from JAXA. MHI believes that its proven track record and the high reliability of the H-IIA launch vehicle contributed strongly to the order placement by KARI.
Boosted by this first overseas satellite launch services order, MHI now plans to further enhance its marketing activities in both domestic and overseas satellite launch services, in a quest to advance the future development of Japan's space industry.
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