QPS-SAR-6 to ride on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Transporter-8 mission
Fukuoka, JAPAN – December 15, 2022- Institute for Q-shu Pioneers of Space, Inc. (iQPS) announced the signing of an agreement with SpaceX for the launch of QPS-SAR-6, called “AMATERU-III” during the Transporter-8 mission as follows.
Launch Vehicle: SpaceX’s Falcon 9
Target Launch Window: No earlier than June 2023
※Once the date and time are confirmed, an announcement will be made on the official website.
Target Orbit: Sun Synchronous Orbit, altitude 500 – 600km
“I am very excited to announce the upcoming launch of QPS-SAR-6 and I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all parties involved in the mission for successfully concluding the contract and making this announcement,” said Shunsuke Onishi, CEO of iQPS, Inc. “We are also greatly pleased and encouraged to be working again with the SpaceX team, who launched our 2nd satellite “IZANAMI” in 2021. Our goal is to build a constellation of 36 small SAR satellites after 2025, and we are planning to continuously launch additional satellites every year. Although I am sure there will be many difficulties and challenges to accomplish this project, I believe our team will work together to steadily move forward toward the establishment of a highly frequent and accurate earth observation system.”
QPS-SAR is an innovative small SAR satellite built by iQPS. iQPS developed a large deployable antenna (patented) with high storage capacity and light weight (10 kg). The antenna enables the satellite to emit strong radio waves, and led to the successful development of the QPS-SAR, high-resolution small SAR satellite, which is 1/20th the weight and 1/100th the cost of conventional SAR satellites. Today, two QPS-SARs have been launched and are in operation: QPS-SAR- 1 “IZANAGI” and QPS-SAR-2 “IZANAMI”. In May 2021, “IZANAMI” succeeded in acquiring images with a resolution of 70 cm, the highest resolution ever achieved by a commercial small SAR satellite in Japan. Unfortunately, QPS-SAR-3 and 4 which were expected to achieve even higher resolution and image quality could not make into orbit as due to rocket failure. However, QPS-SAR-5 is scheduled for a revenge launch early next year.
iQPS is a space start-up founded in 2005 by two Emeritus Professors of Kyushu University and a rocket developer to establish the space industry in the Kyushu region in Japan. Based on more than 20 years of technology in the development of small satellites at Kyushu University, now iQPS brings together young engineers and industrialists with a team of pioneering professors emeritus. In addition, iQPS’s business is strongly supported by more than 25 partner companies, mostly in northern Kyushu. For further information please check: www.i-qps.net