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  • JC2Sat and MIRAD: A Unique Nanosatellite with A Unique EO Payload

    Paper number



    Dr. Alfred Ng, Canadian Space Agency, Canada


    Mr. Keisuke Yoshihara, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Japan


    Dr. Linh-Ngo Phong, Canadian Space Agency, Canada


    Dr. Balaji Shankar, Canadian Space Agency, Canada


    Dr. Anton de Ruiter, Canadian Space Agency, Canada


    Mr. Hiroshi Horiguchi, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Japan


    Mr. Hidekazu Hashimoto, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Japan



    JC2Sat is a joint project between JAXA and CSA that has many unique characteristics. Firstly, the mission was pushed forward from the bottom. It started off as a research project into formation flying technique by two JAXA and CSA engineers in 2006. As the research progresses, they submitted their idea to the senior management and formally became a joint project between the two agencies in July 2007.
    JC2Sat is most likely the only international collaboration in the 20 kg class nanosatellite. The mission will consist of two nanosatellites that are stacked in launch configuration and will be separated in space after the initial checkout operation. The baseline of the launch is H2A as a secondary payload and the satellites are entirely designed and built by a team of JAXA and CSA engineers. Both JAXA and CSA engineers brought to the project their own prior experience in domestic small and microsatellite development. The primary goal is to develop a highly capable nanosatellite platform at low cost through extensive use of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components, small team and short development time.
    The other mission objective is to demonstrate the viability of the nanosatellite bus for technology demonstration. With this in mind, the satellites will demonstrate spacecraft formation flight technology using aerodynamic drag control by varying the cross-sectional area of the spacecraft in the flight direction. Although this idea was proposed about 20 years ago, this is the first time the concept being demonstrated on this class of satellites. Using COTS dual frequency GPS receiver, a new relative navigation technique will be demonstrated. With consideration of limited computation capacity on the satellite bus, this technique was developed with emphasis on computation simplicity with virtually no loss of accuracy.  Also on board JC2Sat is a unique and novel EO payload known as Miniature far Infra-Red Radiometer (MIRAD) which will demonstrate the feasibility of direct measurement of radiances in CO2 and H2O bands using microbolometer technology. 
    This paper begins with a background to the project. This is followed by an overview of the system architecture and implementation philosophy. Formation flying based on differential drag technique will next be explained. Finally, a description of the MIRAD working principle and the science product that will be produced will be discussed. 
    Abstract document


    Manuscript document

    IAC-08.B4.2.9.pdf (🔒 authorized access only).

    To get the manuscript, please contact IAF Secretariat.