Friday, April 13, 2007

Japan's first lunar orbiter!!!

Japan's first lunar orbiter will lift off in August aboard a domestically developed H-IIA rocket from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, the chief of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said Thursday.
Selene, short for the selenological and engineering explorer, or moon explorer, is a satellite designed to collect data on "the formation of the moon and its transitional history up to today," the state-run space agency said.
Tachikawa also told reporters that the agency is about to embark on a new project to monitor global climate change that will involve six satellite launches through fiscal 2011.
The satellites will monitor sea-surface temperatures and water volumes in soil, clouds and vegetation to improve the accuracy of climate-change models.
Tachikawa said his agency and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., the main builder of the HII-A launch vehicle, have not yet agreed on how to split the maintenance costs of the Tanegashima Space Center.
MHI took over operations of the H-IIA rocket from JAXA from fiscal 2007, which began April 1.
Mitsubishi Heavy has asked the space agency to provide financial support for daily maintenance work at the space center.
Tachikawa said the expense issue must be settled before the Selene is launched.

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