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Japan - Space Situational Awareness (SSA)

The Ministry of Defense and the SDF do not possess the capability to monitor the space environment such as the state of solar winds and ionization layers that may cause satellite system troubles, nor faculty to monitor space debris that may cause physical damages by colliding with satellites.

It is said that the Space Surveillance Network (SSN) managed by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), a bi-national US and Canadian organization, Russia’s Space Surveillance System (SSS), and other systems have regularly monitored space debris of relatively large sizes and satellites by using terrestrial radar and optical observation facilities.

For space situational awareness and observation, a comprehensive and systematic initiative must be considered by the government as a whole, in a way that will also encompass the effective use of various capabilities possessed by the Ministry of Defense and the SDF, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and other institutions, in order to ensure the safe and stable development and use of space in both the public and private sectors.

The Ministry of Defense and the SDF will consider new areas of development and use of space, such as protective measures for satellites and space situational awareness (SSA), in light of the trends of development and use of space in other countries. At the same time, due consideration should be given to the discussions at the UN and other organizations to prohibit arms races in space.

As a result of the increase in the number of countries developing and utilizing outer space, more and more countries have become capable of estimating the SDF’s capabilities from outer space. In addition, space debris, which could damage satellites, has been increasing and technologies to degrade the functions of satellites, including anti-satellite weapons, are improving.

Therefore, for the stable use of outer space, it is very important to deepen study on maintaining more effective space situational awareness (SSA) capabilities, for example which serve a collision avoidance between space debris and satellites. Such capabilities include detection and identification of suspicious satellites and space debris with radars and optical telescopes, and analyzing and cataloging their orbits with a dedicated system.

SSA capabilities will also significantly contribute to collision avoidance between space debris and satellites operated by not only the MOD but also civilian purpose related organizations using outer space. Thus, SSA capabilities will improve Japan’s stable development and use of outer space. Therefore, it will be essential for future study to cooperate closely with relevant organizations that benefit from SSA capabilities in anticipation of constructing a whole-government SSA system.

FY 2013 initiatives for outer space monitoring included promotion of research regarding Space Situational Awareness (SSA) activities expected to contribute to improve BMD capabilities, protect satellites used by JSDF and deepen Japan-U.S. cooperation. Space Situational Awareness included monitoring space objects based on the orbit information registered in the database by detecting and identifying satellites and space debris. Research on SSA of MOD/JSDF (¥30 million) and research on defense oriented SSA. Research on SSA capabilities (¥0.1 billion) included research on FPS-5’s capabilities of detecting and tracking satellites, etc.

Japan BMD Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI) prototype J/FPS-XX at Iioka, Chiba, was entirely domestically produced. Development began in 2000 and was completed in 2003. A mammoth triangular structure, 30 meters high, with the sides 20 meters wide, the antennarotates on a circular rail. A 28-meter diameter radar face on each side. Testing at Iioka was carried out by a 28-member JASDF unit in 2004-05. It was tested against fighter aircraft, simulated ballistic missile signals and dummy/deception signals generated at the ‘E-Aerial Training Range’ at Kashimanada Bay in Ibaraki Prefecture, east of Tokyo and northeast of Iioka.

According to the JDA, it monitored the test of a Russian SLBM launched from a submarine in the Sea of Okhotsk in November 2005. It then ‘tracked the missile’s flight for thousands of miles across northern Russia to the Barents Sea in the Arctic Ocean’. The JDA announced on 31 August 2005 that it was proceeding 4 sites. Budget request for 2006 was 18.8 billion yen. The first at Shimokoshiki deployed by 2009, others by 2011.

Four J/FPS-5 systems were constructed. The first was at Shimokoshiki in Kagoshima prefecture, Kyushu, where surveying and construction started in 2006 and which was scheduled for completion in 2009, at a cost of 2.5 billion yen in 2006. The other three were completed by 2011. Kamabuse-yama, Ominato, Aomori prefecture; Sado Shima in Niigata prefecture; and Yozadake, in Itoman city, at the southern point of Okinawa Island. Two are focussed on Chinese missile trajectories and two on North Korea.

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