Press Release


"MICHIBIKI" Chosen as Nickname
of the first Quasi-Zenith Satellite

January 20, 2010 (JST)

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) conducted a nickname campaign for the first Quasi-Zenith Satellite (QZS-1) between October 16 (Fri.) and December 16 (Wed.), 2009, to familiarize people with the satellite. Among many suggestions, "MICHIBIKI" was selected as the nickname.

  1. Selection result: The chosen nickname is "MICHIBIKI" meaning "guiding" or "showing the way."
  2. Reason for selection:
    • "MICHIBIKI" accounted for the highest percentage of proposed names, excluding some names that raised some concerns in terms of third party trademark rights, thus it means the name is supported by many people.
    • Many godparents of "MICHIBIKI" explained their selection reason as the QZS-1 is to show us a correct location using its accurate positioning information, and to guide us toward a futuristic society by establishing the next generation satellite positioning technology in Japan. As the name precisely illustrates the QZS mission, this name was chosen.
  3. Received applications:
    Total: 11,111 (Among them, acceptable applications totaled 10,336, and those who proposed "MICHIBIKI" was 328.)
    Internet 6,294
    Postcard 812
    Application form   4,005

    Note) JAXA will send a certificate to all godparents of "MICHIBIKI" The winner of the trip to the Tanegashima Space Center to see off the QZS-1 launch has been announced on the website of the Space Application Mission Directorate. (Japanese language only)

Recently, a positioning service using a satellite has become essential due to the popularization of mobile phones with the GPS function. However, positioning accuracy is often poor because the view of a GPS satellite is hindered by skyscrapers in urban areas in Japan. The major attribute of the QZS is that it can observe Japan from almost its zenith for a long time. Therefore, combined with the existing GPS, the QZS system can provide a high accuracy positioning service even in urban canyons or mountainous terrain.
The QZS system is being developed by JAXA based on the collaboration with Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), and also in corporation with related research organizations namely National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Geographical Survey Institute of the MLIT, and Electronic Navigation Research Institute.

<What can the QZS System do?>

(1) Overcome difficulties that the GPS faces
The QZS will send the almost same signal as that of the currently operated GPS signal and also that of a new-type of GPS, which is under development in the U.S. GPS users can, therefore, receive accurate positioning and information even when they are at a GPS out-of-service area. Thus we can improve the convenience of the positioning service. (GPS complement)
(2) Further boost the GPS
The QZS is to send an accurate correction signal to improve the accuracy of the GPS. By receiving signals from the QZS, GPS users will be able to know more precise position information. Therefore, it is expected that we can conduct very accurate positioning all over Japan. (GPS reinforcement)

For more information about the QZS, please refer to the following website.