Engineering Test Satellite VIII "KIKU No.8" (ETS-VIII) Topics

Topics List

Jan. 11, 2017 Updated
Completion of KIKU No. 8 Operation

At 3:25 p.m., (Japan Standard Time) January 10, 2017, JAXA terminated its Engineering Test Satellite-VIII KIKU No.8 (ETS-VIII) transmission, thus brought a closure to the satellite’s operation.
KIKU No. 8 was built for demonstration and experiment, with the purpose of improvement of mobile communications system. When Japan earthquake and tsunami of 2011 broke out, the satellite did the much needed service of providing the internet access for the afflicted region.
Launched on December 18, 2006, KIKU No. 8 marked its 3-year mission period and on December 18, 2016, completed its 10-year design life. The satellite’s fuel ran low that controlled its attitude and orbit after the decade long operation. In addition, an outdated satellite lying in space can undermine the operation of others. Therefore JAXA made a call to discontinue using the probe. KIKU No. 8 was thrown out of its stationary orbit and ceased to function.

Completion of KIKU No. 8 Operation

Oct. 25, 2012 Updated
KIKU No.8 starts data transmission test from GPS tsunami gauge

JAXA started a data transmission test from a GPS tsunami gauge through the Engineering Test Satellite-VIII KIKU No.8 (ETS-VIII) on Oct. 24 in cooperation with the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), Hitachi Zosen Corporation, the Earthquake Research Institute of The University of Tokyo, and Kochi national College of Technology.
During the test, wave observation information acquired by a GPS tsunami gauge set on a buoy about 40 kms offshore of Muroto Point, Kochi Prefecture, is sent to shore via the KIKU No.8. If the test is successful, leading to such a transmission becoming practically available, it is expected to be helpful as it can continuously provide accurate tsunami data received offshore not only in Japan but all over the world when a ground GPS tsunami gauge is damaged due to power and/or power line failure caused by an earthquake or tsunami.

KIKU No.8 starts data transmission test from GPS tsunami gauge

May 16, 2011 Updated
KIKU-VIII completes support for disaster measures

JAXA provided a broadband environment using the Engineering Test Satellite VIII “KIKU No. 8” (ETS-VIII) in Ohfunato city and Ohtsuchi town in Iwate Prefecture as part of support activities for disaster measures after the Great East Japan Earthquake. The environment was used for information gathering and dispatching. We have also offered communication lines to Onagawa town in Miyagi Prefecture. Since the ground communication infrastructure has been recovered there, support using the KIKU No. 8 was completed according to a request from Onagawa town.
Post-disaster support after the humongous earthquake using the KIKU No.8 has been completed, but we would like to sincerely hope for the recovery of disaster-stricken areas.

Mar. 24, 2011 Updated
Satellite communications using KIKU No. 8 to support disaster measures following Tohoku Region Pacific Ocean Coastal Earthquake

JAXA began a satellite communication connection using the Engineering Test Satellite VIII "KIKU No. 8" (ETS-VIII) to support disaster measures following the Tohoku Region Pacific Ocean Costal Earthquake.
On March 24, JAXA set up a ground antenna and the movable test communication terminal for the KIKU No. 8 at the Ofunato City Hall to connect the communication line of up to 768 Kbps between the City Hall and the Tsukuba Space Center via KIKU No. 8 in cooperation with the National Institution of Information and Communications Technology (NICT.) With this communication line installation, Ofunato City Hall workers began collecting information by PCs through the Internet. Apart from city hall, local fire departments and other offices can also now use the Internet and IP telephones to share information for strengthening their cooperative activities.
In addition, information dispatch from evacuation centers and other places through the Internet became possible, as the KIKU No.8's movable test terminal is small and easy to move around and install. Therefore, the connection this time is expected to further contribute to a smooth recovery from the disaster.

Conseptual diagram of communication system

Jun. 2, 2010 Updated
KIKU No. 8 completed regular operation phase

The KIKU No. 8 launched in December 2006 completed its three-year regular operation phase, and moved to the post-operation phase. The KIKU carried out verification experiments on communication lines at disaster preparation training and communication tests with small mobile terminals.

Dec. 8, 2008 Updated
Remote control of deep-sea surveyor using the KIKU No. 8 successfully verified

Japan Energy for Marine-Earth and Technology (JAMSTEC) developed the remote control system for a deep-sea surveyor using the Engineering Test Satellite No. 8 "KIKU No. 8," and carried out a verification test of the system. The test was successful as the small deep-sea surveyor "MROV," with its high definition TV camera (HDMROV), was remotely controlled via the KIKU No. 8 to operate deep in the sea while images under the ocean was monitored at the ground base station.
(Image: JAMSTEC)

May 27, 2008 Updated
Satellite communication system experiment with "KIKU No. 8" during emergency drill in Kagoshima

The satellite communication system using the Engineering Test Satellite VIII (ETS-VIII), or the “KIKU No. 8,” was tested during an emergency drill held by the Kagoshima Municipal Government. IC tags with individual residents' data was distributed to residents before the experiment. During the drill, information recorded in each IC tag was read at each evacuation shelter, then all the data was sent to the base command station from the shelters via the “KIKU No. 8.” From this data transmission, the base command station can grasp the status of each shelter, including how many residents are at respective shelters and their identity, in real time. Through this experiment, we were able to prove the effectiveness of the communication method covering broader areas and the convenience of using IC tags in case of an emergency by connecting physically separated emergency shelters via the “KIKU No. 8.”

(Left: Governor Ito at the base station. Right: Confirming the status of each shelter)

(Photo: Accepting evacuees by reading their IC tags)

Apr. 14, 2008 Updated
Large Deployable Antenna Reflectors (LDAR) on "KIKU No. 8" (ETS-VIII) receive awards from Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers

The Large Deployable Antenna Reflectors (LDAR) on the “KIKU No. 8” (ETS-VIII), which was launched in December 2006, were awarded a medal for Distinguished Engineering by the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers.
The two LDAR on the “KIKU No. 8,” which were stored at a size of 1 meter in diameter by 4 meters in height at its launch, were deployed on the satellite’s orbit to become the world’s largest reflectors at a size of 19 x 17 meters (as large as a tennis court). Communication experiments confirmed that the LDAR were functioning properly as radio wave reflectors.
These gigantic parabola antennas stretched out in space enable an environment of “anytime, anywhere” communication using compact hand-held terminals regardless of geographic conditions like those in mountains or on the ocean. These stable communication services can also be provided during disasters.
The technology for the deployable antennas fostered from the development of the KIKU No. 8 will be succeeded by the Radio-Astronomical Satellite "ASTRO-G." Research on 30-meter diameter, ultra-large antennas, to improve the convenience for users, has also began and their future evolution is greatly anticipated.

May 10, 2007 Updated
"Kiku No. 8" shifted to regular operation

The "Kiku No. 8," which was injected into its scheduled Geostationary orbit (at an east longitude of 146 degrees) by six orbit controls and checked for the health of both the bus and sub systems and mission equipment, was moved from the initial phase to the regular operation phase as a result of a review for starting regular operations.
From now on, experiments using each onboard instrument will be performed one at a time.

Dec. 27, 2006 Updated
KIKU No. 8 completes LDR deployment moving to the Initial Functional Verification Phase

The KIKU No. 8 (ETS-VIII), which was injected into the drift orbit after four rounds of apogee engine firing, started to deploy the receiving antenna of its large deployable antenna reflector (LDR) at 5:31p.m. on Dec. 25 and the sending antenna at 6:56 p.m. on Dec. 26. Both these antennas were confirmed to be successfully deployed through telemetry data and images from onboard cameras sent from the satellite on the respective days. At 4:14 a.m. on the 27th, the attitude control mode was shifted to the regular control mode to advance to the initial functional verification phase.

Dec. 25, 2006 Updated
KIKU No. 8 is in Critical Phase

The KIKU No. 8 (ETS-VIII) launched on Dec. 18 from the Tanegashima Space Center is now operating in the "Critical Phase." Injected into the geostationary transfer orbit by the H-IIA Launch Vehicle, the KIKU No. 8 is increasing its orbit altitude step by step through firing of the apogee engine. After reaching the drift orbit by firing four times, the large deployable antenna reflectors will be deployed. The attitude control mode will then be shifted to the regular mode to complete its Critical Phase.

Photo 1:Control center at the Tsukuba Space Center:
all work for managing launch operations for the satellite were performed here.

Photo 2:ETS-VIII operation room at the Tsukuba Space Center:
operators nervously watching the launch. For the ETS-VIII team, the full-scale operations started when the satellite was separated from the launch vehicle.

Photo 3:
In the operation room, operators monitor and control the status of the KIKU No. 8. Operators on the near side of the photo are the operation team in charge of managing the operation progress, monitoring, and sending commands.

Photo 4:
This photo was taken from the opposite side of the operation. Operators on the near side of this photo are the technical team supporting the operation team.

Dec. 18, 2006 Updated
KIKU No. 8 deployed solar array paddles

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) received signals from "KIKU No. 8" at the Santiago Station in Chile and the Maspalomas Station in the Canary Islands (the Kingdom of Spain). Through the received signals and images, we have confirmed that solar array paddles have been deployed and sun acquisition was successfully performed.
The "KIKU No. 8" was launched from the Tanegashima Space Center at 3:32 p.m. on December 18, 2006, Japan Standard Time (JST.) The satellite is now in good condition, and operations are progressing smoothly.

Dec. 18, 2006 Updated
KIKU No. 8/H-IIA F11 successful launch and payload injection

The H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 11 (H-IIA F11) with the Engineering Test Satellite VIII "KIKU No. 8" (ETS-VIII) onboard was launched at 3:32 p.m. on December 18, 2006 (Japan Standard Time, JST.) The launch vehicle flew smoothly, and, at about 28 minutes after liftoff, the "KIKU No. 8" separation was confirmed.

We would like to express our profound appreciation for the cooperation and support of all related personnel and organizations that helped contribute to the successful launch of the H-IIA F11.

Dec. 16, 2006 Updated
Launch postponement of the KIKU No. 8/H-IIA F11

The launch of the KIKU No. 8/H-IIA F11 scheduled on Dec. 16 has been postponed due to clouds including a freezing layer observed above the launch site. There is little possibility for the weather to recover by the time of the launch.

The new launch date has been set for December 18 (Mon), 2006 (Japan Standard Time, JST). The scheduled launch time is between 3:32 thru 3:44 p.m. (JST.)

Dec. 11, 2006 Updated
KIKU No. 8 onboard the H-IIA

Launch preparation operations are underway for the KIKU No. 8 at the Tanegashima Space Center.
After the mating with the PAF at the SFA, the satellite was encapsulated with the fairing, and loaded onto the launch vehicle. The KIKU No. 8 is now ready for the countdown. Its condition will be monitored and maintained by remote equipment until launch.

Dec. 8, 2006 Updated
Encapsulated KIKU No. 8 moved to the VAB Countdown to launch

The "KIKU No. 8 (ETS-VIII)," which had been encapsulated by fairing at the Spacecraft and Fairing Assembly Building (SFA), left the SFA for the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) on the night of Dec. 7. The transportation went smoothly. In the VAB, the encapsulated KIKU No. 8 will be loaded onto the launch vehicle to be ready for the coming launch.

Nov. 6, 2006 Updated
Kiku No.8 (ETS-VIII?open to the press

The Engineering Test Satellite "Kiku No. 8 (ETS-VIII), which arrived at the Tanegashima Space Center in September, was open to the press on Nov. 1, and the satellite showed its body wrapped in black insulation material with its stowed antennas and solar array paddles. The stowed Kiku is 7.3 meters in height, 3.7 meters in length, and 4.6 meters in width. It will be 5.8 tons (at the time of liftoff), which is the heaviest satellite in Japanese satellite history. Its launch vehicle, H-IIA F 11, is equipped with four solid rocket boosters (SRB-As), two more SRB-As than the conventional H-IIA with two SRB-As, to increase launch capability.

Oct. 30, 2006 Updated
Final preparation is underway for launch

Various activities are underway ahead of the launch of the "Kiku No. 8" including announcements about the launch day, its nickname, and its symbol character "Kiku Hachi-zo." The "Kiku No. 8 (ETS-VIII)," which had been delivered to the TNSC, was unpacked and reassembled, and a final functional verification test was carried out.

As the final preparation for launch, the "Kiku No. 8" will be loaded with propellant, installed with pyrotechnics, and placed on the launch vehicle.

The satellite will be open to the press on November 1 at the Tanegashima Space Center.

Photo A : Kiku No. 8 almost reassembled
Photo B : Testing the propulsion system
Photo C :
The Spacecraft and Fairing Assembly Building 2 at the TNSC,
where preparation and tests are underway

Oct. 27, 2006 Updated
Launch day is set! Special site is open!

The launch day of the Engineering Test Satellite VIII "Kiku No. 8 (ETS-VIII)" is set for December 16, 2006. We have opened a special site to provide you with the latest information about "Kiku No. 8 (ETS-VIII)" and H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 11 (H-IIA No.11.) Please enjoy this site.

Oct. 23, 2006 Updated
Engineering Test Satellite VIII (ETS-VIII) nicknamed "Kiku No. 8"

The Engineering Test Satellite VIII (ETS-VIII) was nicknamed "Kiku No.8" ("Kiku" means "chrysanthemum" in English.) The ETS series has been named "Kiku" since its first satellite.

The catchphrase for the "Kiku No. 8" is:
Opening the door to the future by deploying big antennas and providing security
-- Large-size satellite opens up new mobile phone communication world --

JAXA has been conducting the ETS series project with the aim of achieving satellite technology that can meet the needs of the future.

"Kiku No. 8," or the 8th ETS, will challenge technological standards in communications and positioning that can make our life more convenient and comfortable.

The ETS-VIII symbol character "Kiku Hachi-zo" was born to help the public feel closer to the satellite. We hope you like both the satellite and the mascot.

Oct. 16, 2006 Updated
LDREX-2 antenna deployment confirmed

Concerning the deployment experiment of the Large Deployable Reflector Small-sized Partial Model 2 (LDREX-2) launched by the Ariane 5 launch vehicle at 5:56 a.m. on Oct. 14, 2006 (Japan Standard Time) JAXA confirmed the antenna deployment by images acquired at the Malindi Station in the Republic of Kenya. It is expected to take a week to 10 days to find the final result of the deployment experiment as we have to analyze telemetry data acquired during the experiment.
(Image taken from the back of the antenna)

Press Release
Deployment Experiment Result of
Large Deployable Reflector Small-sized Partial Model 2 (LDREX-2) (Quick Report)

[c2006 ESA-CNES-ARUANSPACE / Photo Optique Video CSG]

Oct. 13, 2006 Updated
ETS-VIII arrived at the TNSC

The Engineering Test Satellite VIII (ETS-VIII), which completed the System Proto-flight Test (System PFT) at the Tsukuba Space Center (TKSC), was delivered to Tanegashima from Tsukuba.

On the evening of Aug. 31, the satellite left the TKSC (Photo A,) was transported via land and sea, and arrived at the Spacecraft and Fairing Assembly Building #2 at the Tanegashima Space Center (TNSC) on Sep. 4 (Photo B.) After the arrival, the satellite was unpacked (Photo C.) Since the ETS-VIII is a big satellite, large parts were detached from the main body for packing, and land transportation was carried out during the night.

The launch preparation is smoothly underway at the Tanegashima Space Center.

Aug. 21, 2006 Updated
Final electric performance test underway at TKSC

The ETS-VIII is currently undergoing its final electric performance test, which is the last part of the series of tests for the System Proto Flight Test (System PFT) at the Tsukuba Space Center (TKSC.)
The test verifies if the satellite maintains its designed electric performance after it went through environment tests including thermal vacuum, vibration, and acoustic tests by simulating the launch and the space environment.
After completing the series of tests on the System PFT, the ETS-VIII will be delivered to the Tanegashima Space Center to be ready for launch.

Photo: The ETS-VIII during the final electric performance test.

Apr. 10, 2006 Updated
ETS-VIII: Deployment test of the reflector surface of the LDR

JAXA carried out a deployment test for the reflector surface of the Large-scale deployable antenna reflectors (LDR) of the Engineering Test Satellite (ETS-VIII) on April 7 in Tokyo. The ETS-VIII is scheduled to be launched in Japanese Fiscal Year 2006. The LDR is the largest deployable antenna in the world.

The ETS-VIII is equipped with two units of LDRs, and one unit composed of 14 modules, each of which is hexagonal like an umbrella.

The LDR will be neatly folded to about 1 meter in diameter and 4meters in length when it is loaded on top of the launch vehicle, but it is about 19 m * 17 m when deployed. Molybdenum and gold plated materials are used to reinforce the mesh reflector surface for lighter weight so that it can withstand in the harsh temperature changes in space. In addition cables are stitched for further support.

Top: Reflectors being deployed
Bottom: Reflector surface of the LDR after deployment

Jan. 27, 2006 Updated
Mechanical environmental test performed on the satellite

The ETS-VIII is undergoing a system proto-flight test (System PFT) to ready it for the launch. After the mass property test was carried out, a "mechanical environmental test" was held on the ETS-VIII, whose assembly had been completed. In this test, to make sure no problems arise, the satellite is under a simulated mechanical environment, such as vibrations, acoustic environment, and shocks, which the satellite will experience at the time of launch.

Photo1 Photo2 Illustration

Photo 1: The satellite with the large vibration test equipment. The solar array paddle is in the front, and the vibration equipment is on a stand on the right

Photo 2: The main body of the satellite is in the acoustic test room where the satellite experiences loud noise like that inside the fairing at the time of launch.

Illustration: Arrows in the drawing indicate from which direction each photo is taken.

Following the mechanical environmental test, we verified that there is no problem with the satellite. We will carry out a test to confirm if the inside functions and performance of the satellite are maintained properly after going through the results of the mechanical environmental test.

Oct. 28, 2005 Updated
Restarting the system proto-flight test

The ETS-VIII team has resumed its system proto-flight test (PFT) of the satellite, after its assembly was completed. The PFT being held at the Spacecraft Integration and Test Building (SITE) at the Tsukuba Space Center is a series of tests to verify if the assembled satellite functions properly. The ETS-VIII, which had already completed an electric performance test, just finished the alignment test to precisely measure the position and direction of satellite sensors and thrusters using the principle of the triangular surveying (Photo 1), and a mass property test for measuring the mass, center of the gravity, and inertial moment (Photo 2: measuring the center of the gravity). These test results are basic data for satellite attitude control and interface with the launch vehicle. We are scheduled to conduct vibration, acoustic, and shock tests from now to check the mechanical environment.

Alighment measurement Mass propaty test

Aug. 3, 2005 Updated
Assembly is completed, and the test will be resumed soon.

After the ETS-VIII system checkup, the ETS-VIII team has been preparing to resume the system proto-flight test (System PFT). By the end of July, we completed satellite assembly operations by installing the external equipment including the "Large Deployable Reflector (LDR)", the "Solar Array Paddles (PDL)", and the "Deployable Radiator". We are now ready for the System PFT.

Photo 1
Installing the LDR that looks like a folded umbrella.

Photo 2
On the near side of the satellite is the stowed PDL which is already installed, and on the far side is the half-deployed PDL in the middle of installation operations.

Apr. 27, 2005 Updated
LDREX-2 deployment experiment on an aircraft successful

On April 5, 2005, the ETS-VIII project team carried out a deployment test on the Large Deployment Reflector smaller and partial model #2 (LDREX-2) in a quasi zero-gravity (or microgravity) environment by loading it on an airplane. A microgravity environment can be created by an airplane ascending steeply, turning the engine almost off, then descending sharply. The environment can be maintained only for 20 seconds at one time. All objects will weigh twice as much for 20 seconds before and after the effects of microgravity. The aircraft ascends and descends to a height of 2,400 meters in a minute. For our test, the airplane created a microgravity environment 13 times during its three-hour flight.

In the test, the LDREX-2's functions were verified according to the order of the launch events. The antennas' mirror side deployed very smoothly and successfully. A detailed evaluation on data acquired during the test will be performed shortly, but the success of the LDREX-2 test is surely a big step toward the launch.

(Top) The aircraft for a microgravity test (Photo by Novespace-Airbus)
(Middle) Deployment test
(Bottom) Test staff

Mar. 31, 2005 Updated
In-orbit deployment test for the LDR using its small and partial model

As a result of the ETS-VIII System Checkup, the ETS-VIII team decided to carry out an in-orbit deployment test for the Large Deployment Reflector (LDR) using its smaller and partial model #2 (LDREX-2).

The LDREX-2 consists of seven (7) half-scale modules of the LDR, the same as the LDREX, which was used for the deployment test in December 2000. The LDREX-2 will be launched piggyback by an Ariane 5 launch vehicle sometime in 2005 to perform an approximately 45 minute deployment test in orbit (please see the reference below.)

Construction of the LDREX-2 is progressing smoothly, and a deployment test in a quasi-zero-gravity condition is scheduled in April 2005 by loading it onto an aircraft. The image above is an imaginary picture of a LDREX-2 in-orbit deployment test, and the one below is a rehearsal of the deployment test using an aircraft.

Mar. 10, 2005 Updated
System checkup completed and ETS-VIII development resumed

The ETS-VIII team has been carrying out a system checkup since March 2004 by suspending the system plot flight test because it has been determined that satellite projects in the development phase need a system checkup in response to successive anomalies found in the Mars probe "Nozomi" and the Earth observation satellite "Midori-II".
The ETS-VIII Team completed the system checkup and determined what measures are needed to improve the satellite and ground systems. We have already reported them to the Space Activities Commission (SAC), and we are now resuming the proto flight test.

The photo is of the ETS-III undergoing an on-site inspection by the special committee for satellite system checkups of the SAC. The satellite is decomposed for the inspection. The left in a cylindrical shape is a propellant module, the center front in a frame is the payload module, the center back is an antenna tower, and the right in a frame is a bus module.
(Photo taken on Oct. 14, 2004 at the Spacecraft Integration and Test Building (SITE) at the Tsukuba Space Center)

Reference sites:
Review result of the ETS-III system checkup (Japanese only)
(Dec. 16, 2004, by the special committee for satellite system checkup of the SAC)

Jan. 15, 2004 Updated
Thermal vacuum test for the satellite system was completed.

A thermal vacuum test was carried out for ETS-VIII in a 13-meter diameter space chamber in the Spacecraft Integration and Test Building (SITE) at the Tsukuba Space Center. The test is part of the system proto-flight test (system PFT).
The thermal vacuum test was to verify electric functions of the satellite by repeatedly cooling and heating it with liquid nitrogen and electric heater in a large vacuum chamber of 13 meters in diameter and 16 meters in depth. The chamber simulated the thermal cycle in space, and the various functions of the ETS-VIII were verified to work normally during this one-month-long test.
We will carry out acoustic and vibration tests for the ETS-VIII after assembling the satellite main body in 2004.

Photo : Taking the ETS-VIII out of the chamber after the thermal vacuum test The satellite main body was surrounded by heating panels as electric heaters were used to heat it instead of strong lights of a sun light simulator.

Photo : TETS-VIII out of the chamber. The antenna tower (right) and the satellite main body (left) were detached for the test.

Oct. 14, 2003 Updated
The initial electric performance test of the flight model was conducted.

The ETS-VIII, whose main body was assembled, is under the System Protoflight Test (PFT). After the initial visual inspection following the assembly, initial electric performance test data were acquired by connecting the satellite and test equipment by cables. The purpose of this data acquisition is to verify the electric performance of the overall satellite, and we confirmed that the ETS-VIII operated as designed.
Acquired data at the test will be used as basic information for judging the "health condition" of the satellite. An electric performance test will be conducted after each of the following tests: "thermal vacuum test", "vibration test", and "shock test". The results of those post-test electric performance tests will be then compared to the initial electric performance test result to find out if each of the above tests may have impact on the satellite.

Photo : The mass of the satellite main body without the large deployable reflectors (LDRs) is about two tons. The black sheet covering the surface of ETS-VIII is called "MLI (multilayer insulation)" that protects the satellite from the space thermal environment.

Sep. 10, 2003 Updated
The satellite main body was assembled.

First, the "propulsion module" and the "bus module" were connected (Photo : Left), then the "payload module" was placed on them to construct a box-shaped satellite body.
The "antenna tower" was installed (Photo : Center) on the satellite body to complete the ETS-VIII main body (Photo : Right).

The ETS-VIII will be under a "system proto-flight test (system PFT)" in this shape. The test will examine the satellite system. Deployable parts, namely large deployable reflectors (LDRs) and solar array paddles, will be assembled with the main body as the system PFT progresses.

The Spacecraft Integration and Test Building (SITE)

Jul. 29, 2003 Updated
The flight models of the large deployable antennas are now being tested.

The large deployable antennas (LDRs), which will be as large as a tennis court when they are deployed in orbit, are characteristic modules of the ETS-VIII.
In parallel with the tests of the main body, environment tests for the flight models of the LDRs, which have mirror surfaces made of metal mesh, are underway. A "flight model" means a model that will actually go to space, as the name explains. Two sets of LDRs will be installed in the ETS-VIII, one for transmitting and the other for receiving.
For the environment tests, launch conditions and space environment, namely vibration, acoustic condition, thermal vacuum, are simulated to verify if the LDRs can withstand them. After passing the environment tests, the development of the LDRs can move to the next step.

Photo :
Top : A folded LDR is in the acoustic test facility in the Spacecraft Integration and Test Building (SITE). The LDR is under acoustic pressure that is equivalent to that in the fairing at liftoff.
Bottom : Two LDRs are simultaneously tested in the "8 meter diameter chamber", which simulate vacuum and cryogenic conditions of space as well as the thermal condition of sun light at the same time.

The Spacecraft Integration and Test Building (SITE)

Apr. 14, 2003 Updated
Modules for ETS-VIII are being delivered to the Spacecraft Integration and Test Building (SITE)

The satellite system of ETS-VIII is currently being assembled for a comprehensive test staring in Japan Fiscal Year (JFY) 2003. For ETS-VIII, each module is manufactured and tested respectively first to verify conditions of each, then the modules are assembled as a satellite system. The assembly is scheduled to be conducted at the Tsukuba Space Center (TKSC), thus those which are ready to be assembled are being delivered to the Spacecraft Integration and Test Building (SITE).

Photo 1: "Payload module" waiting for being assembled in SITE
Photo 2: "Antenna Tower" also in SITE
(A person in a photo is 164cm tall.)

The Spacecraft Integration and Test Building (SITE)

Feb. 4, 2003 Updated
Tests on the payloads of the Flight Model have been performed continuously at Tsukuba Space Center as part of the ETS-VIII project.

The airframe of ETS-VIII is structured with modules from its top to the bottom, including an antenna tower, payloads, bus systems and propulsion systems. Thus the production and tests for each module can be simultaneously performed effectively.
The photo shows the test scene of the payload module. The silver box in the middle is the payload module carrying the communications/broadcasting and positioning experiment instruments. The objects located on both sides of it are electronic instruments to receive and transmit radio waves through large-scale deployable reflectors and they will be equipped inside the antenna tower.
Through these tests, the operation of each instrument is verified and the performance and characteristics are evaluated one after another.

Photo: Test for the payload module

Nov. 22, 2002 Updated

The thermal design and analysis validity of Flight Model payloads were evaluated in the vacuum chamber simulating the space environment (for vacuum, low temperature and sun light) and confirmed that the quality is suitable for the actual flight. The top-left photo shows the thermal vacuum test for the Feeder Link Antenna (FL-ANT) and the lower-left photo shows the thermal balance test for the TX Large-scale Deployable Reflector (TX LDR.).

Apr. 20, 2001 Updated
ETS-VIII SSM Development Tests

ETS-VIII Satellite System Structure Model(SSM) has been subject to structure tests, to verify the structure design against launch environments such as shock, acoustic, sinusoidal, and random vibrations, at Tsukuba Space Center/Satellite Integration Test Facility from late March through mid June.
Photo: ETS-VIII Satellite System Structure Model under Structure Load Tests

Mar. 27, 2001 Updated
System Thermal Model (STM) for Thermal Vacuum Test

STM is an engineering model of ETS-VIII Satellite System to check out the validity of thermal design for on-orbit vacuum environment. STM has been subject to Thermal Vacuum Chamber Test at MELCO/Kamakura Works from late February through March.
Photo: ETS-VIII System Thermal Model

Dec. 8, 2000 Updated
LDREX Launch and Deployment Experiment

Large-scale Deployable Reflector Experiment Model(LDREX), about six meters in diameter, is a half-scale model of seven modules for the ETS-VIII LDR to validate its essential design of deployment mechanism prior to the full flight-model fabrication. The LDREX is to be launched as a piggyback by Arian-5 Rocket on Dec. 21, for its almost 20-minute deployment demonstration on orbit.
Photo: LDREX (integrated into Arian- 5 Payload Attachment Fitting)

Dec. 6, 2000 Updated
ETS-VIII Satellite System Structure Model (SSM) Static Load Tests

ETS-VIII Satellite Body is two-story-box, with each Panel installed with various equipment inside, and has Central Cylinder, an load-supporting inner structure, accommodates two propellant tanks (upper and lower) in itself, and attaches Apogee Engine to its lower end cone.
SSM was set Static Load Tests at Tsukuba Space Center/Satellite Test Facility from late October through November.
Photo: ETS-VIII Satellite System Structure Model under Static Load Testing

Aug. 18, 2000 Updated
LDR Radio frequency Tests

Large Deployable Reflector (LDR) has been under RF (radio frequency) measurement tests from late July to mid August to verify its antenna radiation patterns by combining the LDR Model (seven module type) with the Phased Array Feeders at Radio wave Test Facility in Toshiba/Komukai Works.
Photo: LDR radiation pattern measurements (Courtesy of Toshiba)

Jul. 14, 2000 Updated
SEM under System Tests

System Engineering Model (SEM) is an electrical function model of ETS-8 Satellite to verify overall electrical performance with system tests if the design is ready for Flight Model fabrication. SEM consists of Bus Module(upper stage), Payload Module(middle), and Propulsion Module(lower), integrated into satellite structure with wire harness.
Assembling the Modules step by step with interface check-outs since last October, overall SEM has been under electrical system tests this summer from June throughout July.
Photo Caption: ETS-VIII/SEM System Tests

May 19, 2000 Updated
Large Deployable Antenna EM Thermal Vacuum Test

Large Deployable Antenna will be packed in a 1 m (diameter) × 4 m (length) cylindrical shape upon launch and deployed on orbit to make a tennis-court-size parabola by expanding her 14 umbrella-like modules simultaneously while jointing their rib-edges to the others.
To evaluate thermal design in its packed configuration till deployment, the Engineering Model (EM) was under thermal vacuum tests at Tsukuba Space Center in mid-May. As mounted on a test stand, the EM was confined in 13m in diameter Space Chamber and tested for verification at simulated on-orbit in temperature condition of vacuum.
Photo Caption: Large Deployable Antenna EM Thermal Vacuum Test (mounted on a test stand)

Mar. 10, 2000 Updated
Large Deployable Antenna EM Deployment Test

Large Deployable Antenna, packed in a cylindrical shape upon launch, will be deployed on orbit to make a tennis-court-size parabola by expanding her 14 umbrella-like modules simultaneously while jointing their rib-edges to the others.
To verify the mechanical design, the Engineering Model(EM) was under deployment tests at Toshiba/Fuchu Works late February. The EM was first hanged down by cables from the ceiling to cancel gravity so as to simulate on-orbit condition and then was successfully expanded horizontally as designed.
Photo Caption: Large Deployable Antenna EM Deployment Test

Feb. 14, 2000 Updated
ETS-VIII Central Cylinder Static Load Tests

ETS-VIII Satellite has Central Cylinder, an inner structure, that balances out all loads, accommodates two propellant tanks (upper and lower) inside, and attaches Apogee Engine to its lower end cone.
Before integrated into ETS-VIII System Structure Model(SSM), the Central Cylinder has been subject to Static Load Tests at MELCO/Kamakura Works during early February.
Photo: ETS-VIII Central Cylinder Structure Model (Courtesy of MELCO)

Jan. 31, 2000 Updated
ETS-VIII Antenna Tower under Thermal Balance Test

Antenna Tower is equipped with FL Antenna, HAC Antenna, Phased-Array Feeder(transmitting and receiving feeders for respective LDR antennas, and two heat-radiation-panels), and Sensor Mast. This thermal model of Antenna Tower has been subjected to the thermal balance tests conducted at Tsukuba Space Center in late December, and is verifying its thermal control design to maintain the temperature within a specific range under space environment.
Photo: ETS-VIII Antenna-Tower under Thermal Balance Test (Phased-Array Feeder was provided by ASC.)

Dec. 10, 1999 Updated
Solar Paddle Deployment Test

The deployment test of ETS-VIII Solar Paddle(EM) has been conducted at TOSHIBA/Komukai Works in November to December. The Paddle folds in four 2.5m x 3.3m honeycomb-panels and expands out on orbit. Upon its ground test, the Paddle is suspended by cables to cancel gravity so that we can simulate and verify the on-orbit deployment operation.
Photo:ETS-VIIISolar Paddle Deployment Test (Courtesy of TOSHIBA)

Nov. 12, 1999 Updated
ETS-VIII/SEM Integration Started

System Engineering Model (SEM), the satellite structure installed with Engineering Models of bus and mission equipment, verifies overall electrical performance whose test data will be of use to Flight Model's design. First of all, assembly and wiring of Payload Module (upper section of satellite structure) for mission equipment has been started at Melco/Kamakura Works in October, and then its functional test will be done until January 2000.
Cocurrently, assembly and wiring of Bus Module (middle section) and Propulsion Module (lower section) will be conducted.
Overall SEM system test will be started in February 2000.
ETS-VIII/SEM Integration (Photo by Mitsubishi Electric Corp.)

Oct. 15, 1999 Updated
LDR-P Antenna Deployment Test

Large Deployable Antenna Reflector (LDR) of ETS-VIII will be launched as folded and deploy its 14 umbrella-like modules side by side on a geostationary orbit to form an antenna reflector in an elliptic shape (approximately 17m×19m in outside diameter) .
We are now manufacturing Large Deployable Reflector Experiment Model-Piggyback (LDR-P), which has about six meters in diameter and consists of seven modules on a one-half scale, to verify in a flight test the validity of design on deployment mechanism, the key technology for LDR development. LDR-P will be launched by H-IIA Launch Vehicle No.1 to perform its on-orbit deployment test.
Heading for the LDR-P launch, we have been conducting the launching environmental tests at Tsukuba Space Center from mid September through October.
As a part of the tests, we conducted the ground deployment test by suspending LDR-P horizontally by wires from the ceiling for the purpose of canceling out the gravity to check out its deployment function in a simulated zero-gravity condition.
LDR-P Deployment Test (Photo by TOSHIBA)

Sep. 10, 1999 Updated
Propulsive SFT for ETS-VIII is underway.

System Firing Test (SFT) for perfect bipropellant chemical propulsive system (fuel: MMH, oxidizer: MON-3) of ETS-VIII has been conducted at Aioi Factory since the middle August and will be ended in the end of September. By conducting the verification test by actually firing 500N class apogee engine (AKE) which to be used in launching geosynchronous orbit, and 20N class biproopellant thruster which to be used in attitude and orbit control through the ground test model, this SFT will confirm the operational characteristics which are necessary in the orbit and its procedure in the management. The objective of SFT is to reflect the result on the production of propulsive flight model.

Jul. 26, 1999 Updated

Integration of Engineering Model(EM) for ETS-VIII mission equipment started on June 14-th Mobile communication experiment equipment (EM-class) is being integrated into mission panels of the ETS-VIII payload module (upper section of satellite structure) at Spacecraft Integration and Test Facility(SITE), Tsukuba Space Center. This mission equipment has been developed by ETS-8 cooperative organizations such as ASC, CRL, and NTT (Most of their EM will be refurbished and upgraded for flight ). After assembled, the mission panels will be checked out on communication systems, and handed over to NASDA by the end of August.
NASDA plan to begin overall-assembling of ETS-VIII System Engineering Model(SEM) in September.