Beacon Transcript – This Wednesday saw the successful launching of a new Japanese satellite, the Himawari 9, which is the latest member of the weather satellite fleet that offers important data on the global weather system.
The Himawari 9 is the latest member of the Himawari or sunflower family of weather satellites. The model, which will work in collaboration with its older companion, Himawari 8, will be the second and last device of the pair which will replace the MTSAT 1R and 2 pair of Japanese weather satellites.
The nearly four-ton satellite was attached to an H-2A rocket as the device was launched from a pad in Southern Japan and is now on its way towards its over 22,000 miles final position over Earth.
The satellite, which is the property of the Japan Meteorological Agency, was built by the Mitsubishi Electric Corp. and weighs 7,700 pounds.
The launch, which had to be delayed by one day because of bad weather conditions, took place from the southeastern Japan Tanegashima Island and featured the use of a two-stage H-2A rocket launcher.
Registering its 30 out of 31 successful launches, the H-2A’s final two engine burns set the Himawari 9 in line for its geostationary transfer orbit which is the shape of an egg.
The satellite should reach its geostationary orbit in about ten days and is set to start being used sometimes early next year.
Himawari 9’s orbit was established so as to move as to move at the same speed with our planet’s rotation, which will account for its stable position and constant view of most of the area belonging to the Eastern Hemisphere.
The satellite’s camera should pan and cover a large area including the Japanese Islands and the part of Asia-Pacific stretching from Hawaii in its east to India in its west and Australia down south.
The Himawari 9 advanced imagers were built by the United States company Harris Corp. and is the same type of system to be used in a soon to be launched satellite.
The NOOA GOES-R will feature the same type of camera as the geostationary weather satellite is set to be launched on November 16.
The Himawari 9’s main mission will be to record and transmit more frequent and accurate images of the weather over the covered area, especially typhoons, and other such severe weather formations.
Besides replacing the old fleet pair, which has been in use since 2005 and respectively 2006, the new Himawari 8 and 9 group should also offer a faster and better weather data forecast as their set to function at least until 2022.
The new, advanced camera on the Himawari 8 will allow for better images as it features a number of 16 spectral infrared and visible light channels as opposed to the currently used 5 bands.
This will allow meteorologists to better distinguish the cloud features from fog, volcanic ash, and smoke plume formations.
As the advanced Himawari 9 imagery data will be shared by the Japan Meteorological Agency, all interested forecasters will be able to benefit from the new devices.
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