Japan: On 24 May, Japan has scheduled to launch a new mapping satellite that will be used to survey damage from natural disasters and changes affecting rain forests. The Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 (ALOS-2) or Daichi-2 will be released by the nation's H-IIA rocket.
ALOS-2 will be able to monitor scars left by natural disasters as well as progress made in reconstruction, JAXA said. The new satellite will not only collect data related to deformation of the Earth's crust, but also the impact of floods and landslides.
The L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (PALSAR-2) aboard ALOS-2, which is active microwave radar, will have enhanced performance compared to DAICHI/PALSAR. The PALSAR-2 is capable of observing day and night, and in all weather conditions. ALOS-2 will have a spotlight mode (1 to 3m) and a high resolution mode (3 to 10m), whilst PALSAR has a 10m resolution.
The satellite's predecessor was used to monitor damage caused by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. JAXA plans to use the new satellite to regularly study tropical rain forests, which are difficult to observe because of the thick clouds that frequently cover them. It will also be used to observe snow and ice conditions in the polar areas.
JAXA will broadcast a live launch report from the Tanegashima Space Centre from 11:15 a.m. on the day.