On October 1, 2003, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) was created through the merging of three separate Japanese space and aeronautics organizations: the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), which was devoted to space and planetary research; the National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan (NAL), which focused on research and development of next-generation aviation; and the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA), which was responsible for development of large-size launch vehicles, as represented by H-IIA, satellites, and the International Space Station.
The consolidation of these three organizations has allowed for a continuous and systematic approach to space exploration, from basic research to development and practical application. It also means that the best of Japan's advanced modern aerospace technologies are gathered together - a concentration of technologies that is expected to create new energy to propel Japan's efforts challenges to space. As a leading industrial nation, Japan is responsible for taking the initiative in the creation of scientific knowledge. JAXA endeavors to add a new page to the history of aerospace development, putting Japan on the same footing as other space-technology advanced nations.
For more information on the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, please visit: http://www.jaxa.jp.
The Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) has been developed to contribute to the fields of mapping, precise land coverage observation, disaster monitoring, and resource surveying. It enhances land observation technologies acquired through the development and operation of its predecessors, the Japanese Earth Resource Satellite-1 (JERS-1, or Fuyo) and the Advanced Earth Observing Satellite (ADEOS, or Midori).
ALOS has three sensors: the Panchromatic Remote-sensing Instrument for Stereo Mapping (PRISM), which is comprised of three sets of optical systems to measure precise land elevation; the Advanced Visible and Near Infrared Radiometer type 2 (AVNIR-2), which observes what covers land surfaces; and the Phased Array type L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (PALSAR), which enables day-and-night and all-weather land observation.
For more information on ALOS, click here.