CEOS sends a big congratulations to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) for successfully launching the Himawari-8 satellite into space on October 7, 2014. Himawari-8 was launched via the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 25 from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima, Japan.
Himawari-8 marks the beginning of the constellation’s third generation of spacecraft and is the eighth satellite in Japan’s series of geosynchronous weather satellites. (Geosynchronous satellites orbit the Earth at the same speed the Earth is actually rotating so that they are always “looking” at the same spot.)
Himawari-8 will be operational by 2015 and operated by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA). JMA has operated geostationary meteorological satellites since 1978, producing data that help prevent and mitigate weather-related disasters based on monitoring of typhoons and other weather conditions in the Asia-Oceania region. Himawari actually means “sunflower”, and this weather-monitoring space-sunflower will provide potentially life-saving weather data over the East Asia and Western Pacific regions for the next 15 years.
To ensure the robustness of the satellite observation system, the launch of Himawari-9 is also scheduled for 2016. Learn more on JMA’s Himawari-8 website.