At the heart of the remote sensing industry

Remote Sensing Technology Center of Japan


Know & Research

Who operates the satellites and distributes the data?

(a) Satellite operation


Respective country organizations or compan ies operate the Earth observation satellites by using ground facilities. These ground facilities include tracking and control stations where onboard components and sensors are monitored, orbits and altitudes are controlled, and observation data are received.
Japanese satellites are mainly operated by JAXA, and satellites of foreign countries such as USA, India, and ESA are operated by governmental organizations or companies. International satellites with Japanese sensors are also operated by foreign organizations.
When users need to observe a particular place, they should apply to the satellite operation organizations in advance.

(b) Data archives

Earth observation satellites handle the observed data by transmitting them to the ground station or the data relay satellite director ies, or by temporarily stor ing them in the onboard memory box then transmitting them to the ground station later. All data are received by the ground receiving antenna-device of the ground station and archived in magnetic tapes or hard discs. Some data are also archived in another station.
In Japan,
the JAXA Earth Observation Center (EOC), Hiroshima Institute of Technology, and Tokai University have the receiving and archiving centers (except for the meteorological satellites [NOAA] and [HIMAWARI]). EOC has the center for the USA Land sat data (1979-), MOS, JERS-1, and ADEOS etc.
Also, foreign data are stored in foreign governmental agenc ies such as EROS of USA, ESRIN of ESA, and compan ies such as Space imaging Co, Digital Glove Co, and Orb Image Co.

(c) Processing and distributing


Almost all data received and stored by the ground stations cannot be used without some processing. Certain data must be taken out from the continuous data, and the radiometric and geometric distortions corrected. Then the corrected data are copied on CD-ROMs or magnetic tapes with the observation date corrected information clarified and only then are they finally transferred to the user.
All data archived in EOC, Hiroshima Institute of Tech., and foreign organizations, etc. can be ordered through RESTEC.