Development of a Small Satellite, “Maido-1” and Lightning Observations

A small satellite “Maido-1”

Photo.1 A small satellite “Maido-1”

BMW on “Maido-1”

Photo.2 BMW on “Maido-1”

The location of detected VHF signals by “Maido-1”

Fig.1 The location of detected VHF signals by “Maido-1”

The SOHLA (Space Oriented Higashi-Osaka Leading Associate) satellite project represents a technology transfer program to expand the range of the space development community in Japan. The objective is to get SMEs (Small and Medium sized manufacturing Enterprises) involved in small space projects and new space technologies. Under the cooperative agreement, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) intends to contribute to socio-economic development by returning its R&D results to society, and SOHLA tries to revitalize the local economy through the commercialization of versatile small satellites. According to the agreement, JAXA provides SOHLA its technical information on small satellites and other technical assistance for the development of the small satellites, SOHLA-1. The prime objective of the SOHLA-1 program is to realize low-cost and short term development of a microsatellite which utilizes the components and bus technologies of JAXA’s MicroLabSat. SOHLA-1 is a spin-stabilized microsatellite of MicroLabSat heritage (about 50 kg).
LRG-OU (Lightning Research Group of Osaka University) takes responsibility for a science mission of SOHLA-1. To examine the feasibility of the VHF Digital Interferometer for lightning observations receiving VHF lightning impulses in space, LRG-OU proposes the BMW (Broadband Measurement of Waveform for VHF Lightning Impulses).
SOHLA-1was launched by HII-A rocket at January 23, 2009 and named Maido-1. 153 sets of BMW observations have been conducted around the world and 14,372 pulses were recorded. BMW has worked well and verified the feasibility for the space-borne electromagnetic lightning observations. Observations results show the clear distinction between over land and ocean as well as the regional dependency in the features of obtained VHF signals.


[1] Y.Nakamura and H.Hashimoto, “SOHLA-1, A lowcost satellite development with technology transfer program of JAXA”, Proceedings of 56th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) 2005, IAC-05-B5.6.B.08,2005
[2]Z. Kawasaki, “Lightning Observations from space by broadband VHF digital interferometer”,IEEJ Transactions FM, Vol.126, No.1, pp10-12,2006
[3]Z.Kawasaki, T.Morimoto, and T.Ushio, “VHF broadband digital interferometer on a small satellite”,Proceedings of The 25th International Symposium on Space Technology and Science (ISTS) pp.1602-1607,2006
[4]T.Taniguchi, A.Hirata, T.Morimoto , and Z.Kawasaki , “Propagation characteristic of widband electromagnetic wave in the ionosphere”,IEEJ Transactions FM, Vol.126, No.11, pp.1173-1176,2006
[5]H.Kikuchi, T.Morimoto, T.Ushio, and Z.Kawasaki , “Wideband Radio Wave Observations of Lightning Discharge by Maido-1 Satellite”,IEICE Transactions Communications, Vol.E93-B, No.8, pp.2226-2227, DOI: 10.1587/trancom.E93.B.226,2010

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