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NEC releases images from the ASNARO-2 radar satellite

- Volcanic eruption captured in emergency observations -

Tokyo, March 13, 2018NEC Corporation (NEC; TSE: 6701) today announced the successful reception of images from its high-performance compact radar satellite, ASNARO-2, including images of a volcanic eruption in the Kirishima mountain range (Mount Shinmoe) in southwestern Japan. Images are scheduled to be available for public sale starting this September.

ASNARO-2, was launched on January 18, 2018 with the Epsilon rocket-3, the third Epsilon launch vehicle, and is currently flying at an orbital altitude of approximately 500 km while completing a full orbit of the Earth roughly every 90 minutes.

The first images were taken from ASNARO-2 as it flew over Europe on February 4, 18 days after its launch. Although the images were taken at sunset, rural areas, vegetation and the condition of roads and rivers are clearly visible. Even the maturity of crops can be determined based on variations in their levels of brightness.

On March 1, Mount Shinmoe in southwestern Japan experienced a small eruption, and images of the surrounding area were taken in emergency observations on March 4 and March 10. ASNARO-2's radar sensor successfully captured details of ground conditions, such as the movement of lava around the crater, even as it was obstructed by smoke, which is difficult for conventional optical sensors to observe.

"Going forward, NEC will continue to refine calibrations in order to further improve the quality of images taken from ASNARO-2," said Kunio Kondo, Senior Vice President, NEC Corporation. "Following the official start of the NEC Satellite Operation Center in April of this year, we aim to launch an image sales service in September as part of the Center's space utilization service business."

Europe Images from ASNARO-2

Date and time of shooting February 4, 2018, 17:31 local time
Location Europe
Shooting mode Strip-map mode
  • Although the image was taken at sunset, changes in brightness can be observed depending on the zone on the surface of the ground and differences due to the growth level of crops.

Kirishima mountain range images from ASNARO-2 (first shooting)

Satellite ASNARO-2 ASNARO-1 (reference shooting)
Sensor Synthetic aperture radar Optical sensor
Date and time of shooting March 4, 2018, 17:34 March 6, 2018, 11:38
  • The optical satellite captured the status of the crater, which was hidden by smoke and difficult to observe.

Kirishima mountain range images from ASNARO-2 (second shooting)

Date and time of shooting March 10, 2018, 6:34
Location Area around the crater of Mount Shinmoe
Shooting mode Spotlight mode
  • The moment when lava was about to overflow from the northwestern edge of the crater.


About NEC's space-related business

About NEC Satellite Operation Center

About the image sales service
Japan EO- Satellite Service, Ltd. (JEOSS) Website


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