KIZUNA hyper-internet satellite
Japan's KIZUNA satellite, successfully launched from the Tanegashima Island Space Centre on a domestically developed, Mitsubishi H-2A rocket will introduce a new era of hyper-speed data communications across Asia. How fast is hyper-speed? Try 1.2 Gbps... the "G" stands for Giga (billion).
Mitsubishi H2A rocket
Let's put things in perspective here: 1.2 Gbps is 150 times faster than the average high-speed ADSL connection rate (around 8 Mbps). It's also 12 times faster than FTTP, or fibre-optic communication delivery. What this means is that students, researchers or company employees in different Asian cities will be able to communicate with each other without experiencing any time lag. Now THAT, is awesome... and so is the launch of KIZUNA, viewable here but previously watched live by millions in Japan over the Internet. Naturally.
According to JAXA, Japan's Space Agency, the type of societal breakthrough enabled by KIZUNA isn't the main reason why the experimental satellite was designed and launched - though it's still a darned good one. We're talking super-high speed wireless Internet communication in a country that experiences dozens of moderate to major earthquakes each year, every year.
Super Earthquake Power! Niigata, Japan, 1964
The bigger quakes cause widespread destruction to roads, gas & water mains, and - wait for it - wired communication services. With KIZUNA orbiting above, uninterrupted communication can be maintained when a ground-based network is disrupted by an earthquake or any other natural disaster. Not only in Japan, mind you, but in almost any Asian country - the service will be available at 19 different locations across Southeast Asia.
KIZUNA (which means "winds" in Japanese) was developed at a cost of $342 million and is expected to function for 5 years once it begins service this coming July.While it's up there, the satellite will be the test-bed for about 100 experiments. One of the most anticipated will be a test broadcast of the next generation of high-definition television.
Even disregarding its usefulness in the event of a disaster, the existence of low cost, super-high speed wireless Internet service throughout the length and breadth of Japan may inaugurate a new era of techno-culture in what is arguably the world's most technologically advanced nation. (via JAXA)
Japanese Innovations Writer