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Designed for a 15-year lifetime, the QZS 1R spacecraft will use its own propulsion system to reach a near-circular geosynchronous orbit with an average altitude of about 22,000 miles. The satellite will settle into an operational orbit tilted between 40 and 45 degrees to the equator, where it will circle the planet once every 24 hours.

QZS 1R will replace the QZS 1, or Michibiki 1, navigation satellite launched on a previous H-2A flight in 2010. Three other quasi-zenith navigation satellites launched in 2017.

The four-satellite QZSS fleet, entirely compatible with the GPS network, is positioned in orbits that loiter over Japan. GPS satellites, operated by the U.S. Space Force, circle Earth in lower orbits, meaning different spacecraft are visible in the sky at different times.

Projected against Earth’s surface, the QZS 1R satellite’s ground track will chart an asymmetric figure-eight pattern stretching from Japan to Australia as it alternates north and south of the equator. Three of the active quasi-zenith satellites are positioned in similar inclined geosynchronous orbits, and another one is parked in geostationary orbit over the equator, remaining in a fixed position over the planet.

Alternate Names

  • QZS1R
  • 49336

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 2021-10-26
Launch Vehicle: H-2A
Launch Site: Tanegashima, Japan
Mass: 4000 kg

Funding Agency

  • Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Japan)


  • Navigation/Global Positioning

Additional Information

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

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