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Mitsubishi Electric unveils new Earth-observation satellite

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Mitsubishi Electric Corp.’s new Daichi-3 Earth-observation satellite is seen in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, on Thursday.

Mitsubishi Electric Corp. unveiled its new Daichi-3 Earth-observation satellite to the press at its Kamakura Works facility in Kanagawa Prefecture on Thursday.

The new satellite will provide an upgrade of the resolution of images taken from space. It will be carried in the next flagship domestically manufactured H-3 rocket, which the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, aims to launch by March next year.

Daichi-3 is 5 meters high and 16.5 meters wide — with the solar panels unfolded — and weighs about 3 tons. It is the successor to the first-generation Daichi, which was retired in 2011.

Daichi-3 will produce images at a resolution three times higher than Daichi, and has the detail to identify individual automobiles on the ground from space.

It will be used to update Geospatial Information Authority-produced topographical maps at a scale of 1/25,000, as well as improve car navigation systems and disaster preparedness maps, meaning more detailed damage assessments can be expected in circumstances of emergency.