Japan launches new Space Operations Squadron

19 May 2020 (Last Updated May 19th, 2020 15:33)

Japan has reportedly launched a new space defence unit called the Space Operations Squadron, part of Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF), to protect the Japanese satellites from threats.

Japan launches new Space Operations Squadron
Japan Air Self-Defense Force Air Defense Command headquarters. Credit: Staff Sergeant Samuel Morse US Air forces.

Japan has reportedly launched a new space defence unit called the Space Operations Squadron, part of Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF), to protect the Japanese satellites from threats.

This is the first Japanese Self-Defense Forces’ unit dedicated to outer space and will be based in Fuchu in Tokyo.

Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono was quoted by THE JAPAN TIMES as saying: “It is important to maintain our nation’s superiority in new domains, including space. We must prepare quickly for monitoring space conditions.”

The Space Operations Squadron has commenced with 20 members. Once it is fully operational by 2023, ASDF expects the team to grow to approximately 100 members.

Japanese space force aims to launch its first satellite for assessing the space environment by 2026.

The unit will emphasis on monitoring, countering and protecting the Japanese satellites from threats including enemy attacks or space debris.

It will also conduct satellite-based navigation and communications for other troops in the field.

The squadron has been launched amidst the growing Japanese concerns that China and Russia seek methods to interfere, disable or destroy satellites.

The unit will cooperate with US Space Command, which was established last year by US President Donald Trump, and Japan’s space exploration agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

Further, Japan ASDF plans to expand its international role and capability with the US. It is expected to meet its defending capabilities against that of countries such as China and North Korea.