Japan Aerospace Exploration Agencys

KIZUNA Interview Report 17th (Mar 30, 2016)

This is the report of interview to Dr. Akioka of NICT concerning the application and its earth station of "KIZUNA" satellite.

“8 years from the launch, there are various usages of KIZUNA in many places.”

Dr. Maki Akioka Research Promotion Expert Planning Office Wireless Network Research Institute National Institute of Information and Communications Technology
Dr. Maki Akioka
Research Promotion Expert
Planning Office
Wireless Network Research Institute
National Institute of
Information and Communications Technology
Maki Akioka
Graduated Division of Astronomy, Graduate of School of Science, Kyoto University.
Through a part-time lecturer of Kyoto University and Science and Technology Research Fellow of the Science and Technology Agency, jointed Communications Research Laboratory of Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (now the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology) in 1993.
Thereafter, in charge of the research of solar and space environment observation, development of small satellite and space communication systems, etc.
 Eight years from the launch of the "KIZUNA" satellite has passed. What is the most impressive event in your activities?

“After all it is the Great East Japan Earthquake 2011. I had a valuable experience about the excellent capability of satellite communications.”

At the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11 five years ago, we accompanied Tokyo Aid Party of the emergency fire response team to Kesennuma City by the request from Tokyo Fire Department. On March 14, we departed in a fire engine from the Tokyo Fire Department of Otemachi, Tokyo. In the afternoon of 15th, we have established a satellite communication link for a TV conference and telephone conference between the local and the Tokyo Fire Department operations room. After that, we moved to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force Matsushima Air Base at the request of us from the Air Force staff office, and connected the satellite link to Iruma Air Base. The staff of Service Squadron there transmitted a large amount of data to the Ministry of Defense at Ichigaya every day by taking advantage of the ultra-high-speed internet satellite communication. The data seemed to include the information about the damage state of various equipments and installations of the Air Base. We still perform communication trainings and the experiments with those people of the Fire Departments and the Self-Defense Forces who worked together at that time. We received a letter of the appreciation from the Fire Chief and the certificate of commendation from the Chief of Staff of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. Through this activity, I had a valuable experience about the excellent capability of satellite communications that is capable to be connected with if the electric power is supplied or procured.

The Kesennuma City Disaster Response Headquarters at the time

 What is the KIZUNA experiment that NICT is currenty working ?

“It is a basic technology development of the high-speed satellite communications with the moving vehicles such as cars, ships or airplanes.”

  Broadband communications have become common by the optical fibers at offices and homes. The mobile phone is a necessary infrastructure while we move around in a town. The next goal is to broadband mobile communications on the car, the airplanes, the ship and other vehicles on the sea. We have succeed in the experiment of high-speed data transmission from moving grand vehicles and a cruising ship but also from a flying airplane. We have also succeeded in an operations experiment of the remote controlled unmanned undersea vehicles (ROV) via the support vessel. Now we are working on the realization of broadband communications with the Autonomous Surface Vehicle (ASV) (repeater device on the ocean).

 Would you tell us about the activities of disaster prevention (training) that are currently working at NICT?

“Using the Fully automatic portable station and Small-type vehicle-mounted station which have been developed based on the experience of the Great East Japan Earthquake, we are participating in the disaster prevention drills, etc. all over japan.”

  At the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake, I had acted together with the Emergency Fire Response Team and the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. Then,,I was keenly aware of the importance of communication while moving. So we have developed vehicle-mounted stations which can communicate when they are moving and the technology of providing the resource of satellite communication to moving vehicles by conducting vehicle-to-vehicle communication using the vehicle-mounted station as a gateway. In order to use this system in the disaster prevention drills at the local governments, we rushes around the country. So we can hardly take a rest during the training season.

 Please tell us about the KIZUNA earth station developed by NICT.

“NICT has developing the earth stations which have excellent footwork.”

  An earth station for the satellite communication generally has a parabolic antenna which is firmly attached to the building roof or the antenna steel tower. Similarly, it is nessesary to turns a satellite mobile phone to the direction of the satellite at the place that view opened when use it. The KIZUNA earth stations developed by NICT ,including the Large-type vehicle-mounted station which is active from the first of a satellite launch, have excellent footwork. The Small-type vehicle-mounted station, that has been developed based on real activity at the stricken area in the Great East Japan Earthquake, has an antenna on the roof-top of the minivan that can track the satellite quickly, and can transmit HD-video in real time while driving. The earth station for airplanes which can uplink 51Mbps was also developed. It can transmit even huge data of Pi-SAR developed by NICT (Synthetic Aperture Radar of the resolution 30 cm) in real time. The Air Self Defense Force also has strong concern about the onboard earth station for airplanes. In the flight experiment in January 2016 we offered them an opportunity to test their experimental device.

Small-type (left) and Large-type (right) vehicle-mounted stations

 Please tell us your future perspectives of satellite communications based on the result of KIZUNA. Experiments.

“The new ultra high-speed satellite-communication networking which has combination of the radio wave and the optical link will be the real thing.”

  Achieving the network speed over 3Gbps,"KIZUNA" is running through the tip in the world by contribution to the acceleration of satellite communications. If the communication line provides a fixed speed or higher, it’s possible to apply ground Internet device to a satellite communication network without stress and if it is enabled, an application of a satellite communication will expanded dramatically. For further acceleration, the satellite communication using optical link is also promising. I am sure that satellite communications become more important and easier to use in respect of quick responsiveness that ground optical fiber networks are poor at and mobility as a means of communication in isolated locations such as on the ocean or on the airplane.