Satellites Space

Japan is planning to build a second space defense system to defend satellites from electromagnetic attacks

Within the upcoming 18 months, Japan will deploy a second space defense entity at an airbase, situated in the country’s west to track electromagnetic wave risks to its satellites. According to a statement from Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi, the proposal to establish the 2nd Space Operations Squadron at Hofu Kita Air Base situated in Yamaguchi Prefecture on November 14 is “very crucial to safeguard the stable utilization of outer space.” The entity would be founded during the fiscal year 2022 in Japan, which begins on April 1.

“It is absolutely crucial to safeguard the stable utilization of outer space as we broaden our activities in new domains — the sectors of outer space, cyberspace, and the electromagnetic spectrum,” the defense minister stated. “The location was chosen after careful consideration of several variables.”

According to Kyodo News, the formation of the new squadron is “part of Japan’s efforts to bolster up its functionalities in new sectors like outer space, as Russia and China build up their capacity in an electromagnetic spectrum.” According to the report, the space surveillance radar is now being developed at the airbase and will be operational in 2023.

In May 2020, Japan established its first-ever Space Operations Squadron at an airbase situated in Fuchu, western Tokyo, to monitor space debris, asteroids, and other dangers to the country’s satellites.

The formation of the second squadron suggests that Japan intends to increase its collaboration with the US on space security problems. As it progressively works alongside American soldiers and is concerned about China’s increasing capabilities, Japan’s Self-Defense Force has attempted to increase its cooperation and weapons interoperability with the US Space Force. The Japanese Air Self-Defense Force, as well as the United States Space Command, inked a space security partnership agreement in March. The Japan Air Self-Defense Force has sent a full-time liaison officer to US Space Command head office situated at the Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado as part of the agreement. Since November 2018, Japan has started using the Quasi-Zenith Satellite Technology, a domestic geolocation system that improves regional accuracy of the GPS-centered timing as well as navigation services. The GPS system is managed by the United States Space Force.

In terms of civil space, Japan joined NASA’s Artemis initiative in October 2020, paving the way for Japanese companies to assist in the US-led lunar exploration. While Tokyo-based ispace is working on a robotic lunar lander in order to contend for the NASA commercial payload deals, the JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) has consented to provide key components to lunar Gateway, a space station NASA, as well as its partners, plan to construct near the moon to assist surface operations.

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Roman Dmowsky

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