JAXA Gives QZSS Satellite a Nickname – “Michibiki”

Quasi-Zenith satellite orbit

The Japanese Space Agency has selected a nickname for its first GNSS satellite: “Michibiki.”  JAXA received more than 11,000 entries in its recent contest to raise national awareness of the GPS augmentation program.

The first of three Quasi-Zenith satellites will launch during the Japanese 2010 fiscal year, sometime before March 31, 2011. 


The Japanese Space Agency has selected a nickname for its first GNSS satellite: “Michibiki.”  JAXA received more than 11,000 entries in its recent contest to raise national awareness of the GPS augmentation program.

The first of three Quasi-Zenith satellites will launch during the Japanese 2010 fiscal year, sometime before March 31, 2011. 

“Michibiki” means to guide or show the way. Three hundred and twenty-eight people suggested the name. All of them were entered into a drawing to win a trip to Japan’s space center and a front-row seat at the launch. The lucky winner is (Mr). Hajimu Nishikawa of Wakayama Prefecture.

The Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS) is a Japanese satellite navigation augmentation program that will vastly improve GNSS accuracy over Japan and the rest of East Asia. QSZ-1,“Michibiki,” will launch via an H-IIA rocket from Tanegashima Space Center, if all goes as planned.

The system is designed to maintain at least one satellite in place near zenith over Japan. It will transmit signals that are compatible and interoperable with existing and future modernized GPS signals.

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