JAXA -宇宙航空研究開発機構-

Consolidated Space Tracking and Data Acquisition Department

Business Overview

Data Relay Test Satellite

  • Earth observation satellites in low altitudes of several hundreds kilometers above the earth surface and the International Space Station (ISS) are orbiting around the earth at a very fast speed. The ISS can travel around the earth only in 90 mins.
  • This means that ground stations can receive data from these spacecraft only in a very limited time when they are passing above them. Their valuable data therefore can be transmitted only in small segments.
  • In order to boost time widow of space communication, a mechanism was devised to relay data by another satellite before transmiting it to ground stations. The Data Relay Test Satellite called DRTS ("KODAMA") demonstrated this mechanism.
  • Stationed at a high altitude of approx. 36,000 km above the equator, DRTS covers the wide view of nearly half the globe including Japan and communicates with earth observation satellites, ISS, and/or its dedicated ground station in Tsukuba Space Center. DRTS enabled long hours of data transmission from space to ground, which increased the amount of data recieved.