Japanese bad luck – DSN-1 satellite arrived broken to French Guiana !

It seems that Japanese space program is out of luck in 2016. After Hitomi failure on March we have another accident with Japanese spacecraft. 

According to Spacenews.com, Japanese communication satellite DSN-1, with launch on atop of Ariane 5 scheduled for 26th July 2016 was delivered to Kourou, French Guiana by plane in the middle of the last week. After unloading it was spotted that there were some marks on container which could suggest direct hit or unpredicted stress. After unpacking and testing it was discovered that satellite is broken.  Spacenews.com is cites anonymous source in European space industry, and claims that DSN-1 will not be launched on previously scheduled term but it will be postponed for unknown time. At the moment it was not recognized if satellite was already broken before transportation or it happened during unloading in French Guiana.

DSN-1 was first from pair of military communication satellites operating on X band designed by NEC for Japanese Ministry of Defense (second one is planned to be launched on atop of H-IIA in 2017). Although satellite was strictly military spacecraft it was not planned to be operated directly by Japanese military forces, but by DSN Corporation established as joint venture between Sky Perfect JSAT Corporation, NEC Corporation and NTT Communication Corporation. It was possible due the agreement given by JMD in 2013 for creating public-private partnership, where Ministry of Defense was main financial investor in the project, when NEC, NTT and Sky Perfect were providing technology and were responsible for maintenance and finding launch service provider. As far as the DSN Company is concerned, Sky Perfect was major shareholder (65%) and was project coordinator, NEC was responsible for creating satellites (17% minor shareholder) and NTT (17.5%) was obliged to provide maintenance and ground management.

X band communication, known also as SHF, is used by military and is generally reserved for government use. It offers many advantages: it is highly resilience for interference and it makes possible to communicate even in case of poor weather conditions like heavy rains. Terminals for X band communication are portable and offers high speed data transmission. X band communication is also quite easy to be protected from jamming.

Sources:

Japan’s DSN-1 military communications satellite damaged during transport to launch base

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