Mitsubishi Electric Corporation has announced that it has been chosen by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) as the prime contractor for the Engineering Test Satellite 9 (ETS-9) scheduled to launch in 2021. The ETS-9 will be the centerpiece of a project to develop an advanced satellite bus, or common model, for various high-throughput satellites (HTS) for communications. Mitsubishi Electric hopes to leverage the advanced technologies it cultivates for the ETS-9 to win contracts for two satellite systems per year in the global commercial market.

The new satellite bus will focus specifically on advanced communication needs:

  • Up to 25kW of power to support HTS communications
  • Light mass, all-electric bus system achieved with 6kW high-power Hall thrusters (Japan-made).
  • High-power Hall thrusters significantly shorten delivery of orbiting satellite compared to other manufacturer’s 4.5kW-class electric-propulsion bus systems
  • The first Japanese geostationary satellite equipped with GPS receivers (Japan-made) for laborsaving autonomous orbital transfer and orbital maneuvering.

The Japanese government’s Basic Plan for Space Policy has identified advanced technologies for communications and broadcasting satellites as crucial to Japan’s security and global competitiveness in the space industry. Next-generation technologies to be deployed in the ETS-9 are expected to be in demand in the global market and will help Japan advance its industrial and scientific technology infrastructure.

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