Virgin Orbit to Launch Japanese Radar Constellation iQPS in 2023

25th May 2022
Virgin Orbit to Launch Japanese Radar Constellation iQPS in 2023

Virgin Orbit announced signing a launch agreement with an EOS operator to launch a Japanese radar constellation iQPS to orbit. The first launch should take place in 2023, while the entire constellation should include a total of 36 satellites.

About Japanese Radar Constellation iQPS

Japanese EOS company Institute for Q-shu Pioneers of Space (iQPS) has elected Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne system for its proven technology to access different orbit inclinations. The system’s flexibility can ensure that the Japanese radar constellation iQPS will reach the required orbit on schedule and will start providing EOS data as soon as the satellite is deployed.

The small satellites will use a large antenna weighing 10kg to enable next to real-time observation. The high-performance images can penetrate cloud covers and provide high-resolution imagery of accurate weather conditions. The initial launches will provide 70cm resolution images, but once the entire Japanese radar constellation iQPS is launched, the company will provide even higher resolution imagery.

Virgin Orbit CEO on Collaboration Opportunity

In January, Virgin Orbit had already proven its launch capability and high-performing technology allowing access to unique orbit inclinations. The mission, nicknamed “Above the Clouds”, successfully deployed seven customer satellites, reaching 500km circular orbit at a 45-degree inclination. According to Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart, this flexibility and a chance to access unique orbit inclinations will benefit the Japanese radar constellation iQPS as well.

Mr Hart adds that the Virgin Orbit team is very grateful for a chance to work with such an innovative company as iQPS. He claims that the operator provides valuable data for preventing weather disasters, contributes to marine safety, and helps with agricultural forecasting.

In turn, iQPS CEO Shunsuke Onishi is equally pleased to collaborate with Virgin Orbit, stating that the company’s unique launch technology is perfect for launching the Japanese Radar Constellation iQPS and ensuring its proper operation in orbit.

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