Utilization for Earth and Environment Observation, and Disaster Preparation



Earth Observation is essential for our life and safety.

Understand and analyzing global environmental conditions is an essential element of guaranteeing our safety and quality of life. Among other things, we need to be able to spot environmental disasters in a timely manner, and to monitor and manage the Earth’s natural resources. For this purpose, Japan has launched a number of Earth Observation satellites. Data collected by these satellites allow us to understand the processes and interactions among land masses, oceans, and atmosphere. We use these data in many ways for the benefit of our everyday lives: weather forecasts, disaster monitoring, exploitation of natural resources, and environmental protection of forestry and fishery.
JAXA is committed to promoting the observation of Earth from satellites. The Earth Observation System has been established with the aim of improving the accuracy of monitoring and forecasting global environmental changes. JAXA’s Earth Observation System is responsible for developing Earth Observation satellites; collecting observation data via ground stations; and the recording, storage and use of the data in research.

Remote Sensing: a technology to allow us to understand environmental changes in the Earth

Remote sensing in Earth Observation is a technique for collecting information about objects by analyzing optical or radio signals discharged or reflected by the objects being studied and collected by instruments on board planes or satellites. One instrument can perform long-term continuous monitoring of worldwide processes and changes in nature. It can collect data on oceanic plankton, vegetation, the ozone layer, typhoons, volcanic activity, and sea ice. Data collected by satellite, received by ground stations, and analyzed by computer are used in many aspects of our daily life, including agriculture, forestry and fishery industries, land-use planning, disaster prevention, and research into oceanic climate, atmosphere and weather.

The following satellites are the earth observation satellites in service or those planned to be launch.

Greenhouse gases Observing SATellite "IBUKI" (GOSAT)
The "IBUKI" (GOSAT) is a satellite project to observe the concentration distribution of greenhouse gases that cause global warming, and to help reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions covered by the "Kyoto Protocol."

Advanced Land Observing Satellite "DAICHI" (ALOS)
One of the largest earth observation satellites that is expected to contribute to the fields of mapping, disaster monitoring, and resource surveying. * DAICHI’s operation was completed on May 12, 2011.

"Aqua" Earth Observation Satellite
An earth observation satellite that was developed as a joint project by the United States, Japan and Brazil. The Aqua has a sensor named "AMSR-E" developed by JAXA, which is one of the world’s largest microwave scanning radiometers.

Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission "TRMM"
A satellite that observes tropical rainfall, which causes global climate changes. The satellite was developed as a joint project between Japan and the United States.

Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM)
The GPM is a project that enables global rain measurements (including snow) by a fleet of constellation satellites. Japan is responsible for the development and operation of the DPR (Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar).

Global Change Observation Mission 1st - Water "SHIZUKU" (GCOM-W1)
The GCOM-W with a microwave radiometer onboard will observe precipitation, vapor amounts, wind velocity above the ocean, sea water temperature, water levels on land areas, and snow depths.

Global Change Observation Mission - Climate (GCOM-C)
The GCOM-C, carrying a SGLI (Second generation GLobal Imager), conducts surface and atmospheric measurements related to the carbon cycle and radiation budget, such as clouds, aerosols, ocean color, vegetation, and snow and ice.

Earth Cloud, Aerosol and Radiation Explorer (EarthCARE)
EarthCARE is a joint Japanese-European Earth observation satellite mission. It aims to perform global scale observations on clouds and aerosols (small particles like dust and dirt that exist in the earth's atmosphere) to help improve the accuracy of climate change predictions.

Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 (ALOS-2)
ALOS-2 is follow-on mission from the "DAICHI".