Sunday, February 04, 2007

Japan's biggest satellite suffers glitch on antenna

Japan's biggest satellite, launched last year and designed to improve cell phone communications, has a technical glitch on one of its massive antennas, Kyodo news agency reported on Friday.

Scientists found on Tuesday that devices to amplify feeble radio waves received from the ground by one of "Kiku's" antenna had failed to turn on, Kyodo said.

Officials at Japan's space agency were not immediately available for comment.

The successful launch of the satellite on a domestically developed H2-A rocket from southern Japan in December was seen as a boost for Japan's plans to enter the commercial satellite business.

Those plans were dealt a devastating blow in 2003 when an H2-A carrying two spy satellites veered off course and had to be destroyed.

Shortly after the launch of the Kiku satellite, scientists struggled and managed to open only one of the 17-meter antennas. They managed to open the other antenna several hours later.

In 2005 Japan announced ambitious targets for its space program, including manned space flight -- a feat already achieved by Asian rival China.

Your Ad Here