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The Geostationary Meteorological Satellite-4 (GMS-4) was a spin-stabilized geostationary satellite designed to provide weather data for the Pacific area east of Hawaii. The primary objectives of the GMS are to provide Earth observations and cloud images (including surface and cloud-top temperatures), collect meteorological data from Data Collection Platforms (DCPs), disseminate weather data by providing relay and transmission of high and low resolution facsimile images, and to provide measurements of space environment parameters. The GMS-4 design was based on the US GOES satellite and was an improvement over the GMS-3. The satellite diameter was 214.6 cm and 345.1 cm in height. The solar cells were made up of 4588 K-7 2.2 x 6.2 cm cells for power generation and 740 2 x 2 cm cells for charging the 5.5 A-hr batteries. GMS-4 is spin stabilized at 100 rpm about the main axis regulated by hydrazine thrusters and aligned parallel to the Earth's axis to a 0.5 degree accuracy. The Earth horizon and Sun sensors provide the attitude information and keeps the E-W antenna pointing accuracy to 0.39 degrees on Sun and 0.56 degrees on Earth. The spacecraft transmits 1.7 GHz L-band imagery data, space environment data and telemetry to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) Command and Data Acquisition Station (CDAS). The GMS-4 instruments consisted of: (1) the Visible and Infrared Spin Scan Radiometer (VISSR) for providing Earth and cloud imagery and surface and cloud temperatures; (2) the Space Environment Monitor (SEM) for measuring alpha particles, solar protons, and electrons; and (3) a data collection system for relaying and transmitting meteorological data from various Data Collection Platforms (DCPs) such as ships, buoys, remote stations and aircraft.

Alternate Names

  • Himawari 4
  • Geostationary Met Sat 4
  • 20217
  • GMS4

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1989-09-05
Launch Vehicle: H-I
Launch Site: Tanegashima, Japan
Mass: 329 kg
Nominal Power: 300 W

Funding Agency

  • National Space Development Agency (NASDA) (Japan)


  • Space Physics
  • Engineering
  • Earth Science

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office



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