Japan launches its first military commsat, DSN-2

Japan has begun placement of its first military commsat constellation, which when complete will be a trio of geostationary commsats serving the Japan Self Defense Force and free them from dependency on commercial satellite operators, who currently lease bandwidth to them.  DSN-2 is the first because DSN-1, originally slated to fly aboard an Ariane V in 2016, was damaged in shipment and is currently in Japan, undergoing repairs.

Unlike most countries’ military satellites, the DSN constellation will not be owned or operated by the Japanese government.  Instead, they belong to a private corporation, DSN Corp, which itself is owned mostly by SKY Perfect JSAT Corp, a commercial commsat operator.  So, in a sense, the JSDF will still be procuring bandwidth from a commercial operator, but now the satellites will be entirely dedicated to them.  The satellites themselves are built by NEC, on a chassis manufactured by Mitsubishi Electric Company.  They will provide Japan’s military with X-band satellite communications for the first time.

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