• Kyodo

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A microsatellite developed by Fukui Prefecture in cooperation with a space startup and others was unveiled to the media Thursday in Tokyo.

The satellite Suisen, meaning daffodils — a symbol of the prefecture — will be lifted into space in March from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, ferried by the Russian launch vehicle Soyuz-2.

On display along with Suisen were three other compact observational satellites owned by Axelspace Corp., the Tokyo-based space startup involved in the project, that weigh around 100 kilograms each.

Axelspace’s satellites are capable of identifying a 2.5-meter-sized object from about 600 kilometers above the Earth, according to the company.

“I think the cooperation between Fukui Prefecture and companies produced good results. I hope the (captured) visual data will be used proactively after the launch,” said Yuya Nakamura, president of Axelspace.

The Fukui Prefectural Government started the satellite project in cooperation with local companies such as textile maker Seiren Co. and the Industrial Technology Center of Fukui Prefecture, a research institute.

The prefectural government is considering using information obtained via the satellite in its tourism promotion efforts and for disaster management.

Axelspace launched its first microsatellite in 2013 and aims to eventually capture daily snapshots of all of the Earth’s landmass using a multiple-satellite globe monitoring platform.

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