About ALOS-2

ALOS-2 Main Specifications
Life Designed life : 5 years
Target : 7 years
Launch Date May 24, 2014
Launch Vehicle H-ⅡA24
Launch Site Tanegashima Space Center,Japan
(at Equator)
Lap Time About 100 min
Revisit Time 14 days
Spacecraft Mass Under 2,100kg (including propellant)
Orbit Size
(on orbit)
About 10.0m×16.5m×3.7m
Mission Data
Direct transmission and via data relay orbit
L band(1.2GHz)

ALOS-2 is equipped with an Automatic ship Identification System(AIS), Space-based Automatic Identification System Experiment 2(SPAISE2), Compact Infrared Camera(CIRC) as a technology demonstration mission.

Scheme of ALOS-2

As the name indicates, the ALOS-2 is the successor of the ALOS, but the structure of the new satellite is quite different from its predecessor.

The ALOS is equipped with three sensors namely the Advanced Visible and Near Infrared Radiometer type (AVNIR-2), Panchromatic.

Remote-sensing Instrument for Stereo Mapping (PRISM), and Phased Array type L-band Synthetic Aperture Rader(PALSAR), but the ALOS-2 is specialized for the SAR.

By focusing on one specific instrument, we can maximize the SAR’s performance for the ALOS-2 to be best suitable for its primary purpose of monitoring disasters regardless of the time of day and whether conditions.

The capacity of the radar, the PALSAR-2 of the ALOS-2, has been significantly improved form the ALOS’s PALSAR in all aspects including resolution, observation band, and time lag for data provision.

In addition, the satellite’s basic capacity has been enhanced for supporting the radar performance such as data transmission speed and high accuracy position retention with new technology.

While the ALOS-2 is quipped with the necessary ability for swift disaster monitoring, its development has also generated a variety of new technologies that can be applied for future satellite development.

Primary Mission of ALOS-2

Monitoring disaster for safe life

◆To understand land deformation due to earthquake

◆International cooperation through disaster information provision to the world

◆Promptly responding to water disaster due to torrential rain and landslides

◆Monitoring disaster discounting oceans or mountains

◆Sea ice monitoring

Tackling global-scale environment problems

◆Deforestation monitoring by global forest map

◆Monitoring deforestation

◆Polar ice reduction

Economic and food contribution

◆Uninterrupted food supply

◆Probing underground resources and understanding land subsidence

Progress from ALOS to ALOS-2

More wider, More precisely - Both resolution and observable area are greatly improved -

1)The resolution of the PALSAR was a maximum of 10 meters, but that of the PALSAR-2 has been improved to 1m to 3 meters. This improvement became possible by adding a “Spotlight mode” which enables the satellite to change its radio wave radiation direction to its moving direction (vertical direction) while flying to keep observing one specific target location for a long time.

2)A “Dual receiving antenna system” is adopted to secure enough observation band with high resolution. As a result, the observation band is 50 km with 3 meter resolution in the “Strip Map mode”, and 25 km with 1m to 3 meter resolution in the “Spotlight mode”.

More quickly - High responsiveness -

1)Observable area greatly broaden from 879km to 2,320km
The ALOS was fixed to face the lower right direction toward the moving direction of the satellite, thus it observed only one orientation. To broaden the observable area, the satellite, thus, by changing the satellite’s attitude right or left during observations, both sides of the satellite can be observed.

2)The revisit time is reduced from 46 days to 14 days ( so that the satellite can go back to the target location sooner)

3)The data transmission capability is strengthened to be more efficient and faster.

As a result, when a disaster monitoring request comes in within Japan, we can provide images of the stricken area in two hours at the earliest.

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