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KAGUYA is JAXA's lunar orbit explorer. NEC has participated in the development, manufacture and operation of KAGUYA as a prime contractor.
Japan’s first large lunar explorer was launched by the H-IIA rocket on September 14, 2007. The project, called “SELENE (SELenological and ENgineering Explorer)”, was the largest lunar mission since the Apollo program. It drew great media attention in Japan, and was carefully followed by many countries. KAGUYA is now in lunar observation orbit at an altitude of about 100 km, following successful insertion in the planned orbits. Regular observations were started in mid-December, 2007.
Observation image of “KAGUYA”
KAGUYA consists of the Main Orbiter (Moon Orbiter) and two small satellites (Relay Satellite and VRAD Satellite). The Main Orbiter will observe the Moon in conjunction with two sub-satellites. KAGUYA has 15 observation missions over the course of about one year, its most important task being the gathering of data on the distribution of elements and minerals, topography, geological structure, gravity field etc. Observation of the lunar environment including plasma, magnetic field, and energetic particles are also scheduled, with the aim of studying the origin and evolution of the Moon.
In addition, KAGUYA will demonstrate basic technologies for future lunar exploration, such as lunar polar orbit insertion, 3-axis attitude control and thermal control in lunar orbit.
KAGUYA successfully took moving images of our beautiful blue planet Earth and the desolate surface of the Moon, using an onboard High Definition Television Camera.
The images of the Earth were taken on the way to the Moon, from a distance of 110,000 km, on September 29, 2007, and those of the lunar surface from 100 km above the Moon on December 31, 2007. This was a world first. NEC contributed to this achievement by integrating systems and supporting the operation.
Motion images of “Earth-rise” and “Earth-set” on the Moon’s horizon was shot later.
"The first quarter of the Earth" taken by HDTV
An HDTV camera developed by NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) is being used to shoot these images.