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Japanese Government Outlines Plan to Establish Independent GPS System

By | October 3, 2011
      [Satellite TODAY 10-03-11] The Japanese government is planning to establish a four-satellite network by 2020 to improve the accuracy of the country’s GPS system, government officials announced Sept 30.
         A Japanese government ministerial council said the country will then set up a network of seven “quasi-zenith” satellites for its own independent GPS system. Japan currently uses the U.S. GPS system for positioning service.
         The ministry also decided to terminate a previous plan to establish a space agency in the immediate future and instead agreed to make the Japanese Cabinet Office responsible for the nation’s space development policies. The government has designated 4.1 billion yen ($53.1 million) in funding to support the transition, which will be acquired as part of Japan’s 2012 fiscal year national budget.
         “At least three quasi-zenith satellites are necessary for stable signals to car navigation systems because a single satellite flies above Japan for only eight hours a day. Four such satellites are required to operate the GPS system on a steady basis,” Japanese government officials said in a statement.
         Japan launched its first quasi-zenith satellite, Michibiki, in September 2010.

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