Yet another Japanese satellite failure!
Today news broke that yet another Japanese radar- and optical satellite has broken down on orbit. It concerns ALOS, a non-classified Earth Observation satellite including radar, visual and infrared sensing equipment.
This comes after the 2007 malfunction of the classified SAR satellite IGS 1B, which is now developing into a re-entry hazard concern for 2012 (as discussed extensively on this blog in a post from last weekend): and the 2010 malfunction of their other classified SAR satellite, IGS R2.
In the aftermath of the recent earthquake, losing their prized remote sensing satellites must really be a pain for the Japanese: this is all really at the most untimely of moments.
Unlike IGS 1B, ALOS is not a direct re-entry hazard for the near future. In a 697 x 694 km orbit (notably higher than that of the IGS-es), it will take a considerable time for it to decay.