Japan moves to space for its “structural reform” placing its own satellites up in an already crowded low orbit

"Bunker-like" NEC Satellite manufacturing facility in Fuchu, Japan can manufacture up to eight satellite at a time.

“Bunker-like” NEC Satellite manufacturing facility in Fuchu, Japan can manufacture up to eight satellites at a time.

There weren’t too many people I don’t think that caught the significance of the news two years ago in which it was stated Japan’s tech giants would “turn to space for growth” with several articles published one in the Wall Street Journal. Reading this news sort of makes people wonder if this is the equivalent of Japan saying that, “well, we’re about economically spent here so let’s move into space”? Sure would like to connect this ongoing news with the Bank of Japan making the decision it did on “negative interest rates” as part of Japan’s “structural reform.” Satellites in low orbit represent what Britain fought wars over to protect and those were the sea lanes for its global trade. Today, it looks as if those “sea lanes” are trade that will go on through satellites and Japan will need to secure that trade through its own satellites.

In Fuchu, Japan, a “bunker-like manufacuring facility” was constructed after NEC decided to drop its smartphone and semiconductor businesses to manufacture satellites. NEC, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Electric, are now working to increase their presence in the space industry. Japan’s domestic space industry generates about US$3 billion in sales a year of which 90 percent of this business is from the Japanese government. Currently, Japan has about 3.2 percent of the world-wide market share of US$195 billion in total space industry expenditure mostly being satellite manufacturing. One of the biggest reasons I can think for Japan turning to robotization and space is because of Japan’s shrinking population. In world-wide total satellite expenditure, it’s not the amount of money spent on satellites that is significant. What is significant is the digital information being transferred by satellites. That figure is in the trillions and trillions of dollars. And get ready for Galileo (makes global governance possible) because this European Union-based system is going operational this year. And furthermore, if anyone has any hesitations about whether or not private interests and governments will not go to great lengths to protect their new satellite “sea lanes” of trade, Russia developed a ground-based electronic weapon that can knock out competing satellites.

Transporting materials into space in a space elevator made from carbon nanotech graphene

Transporting materials into space in a space elevator made from carbon nanotech graphene

This kind of space related news is read quickly going past our computer screens and then easily forgotten, but this move into space by Japan is continuing including the announcement Japanese engineers were theoretically planning a space elevator. This is entirely within the realm of scientific possibility especially with the news released from the Japan-based Obayashi Corporation, one of Japan’s top five construction companies. Obayashi has been working on the feasibility of constructing a space elevator. The elevator Obayashi is panning would be constructed of carbon nanotechnology along the lines of utilizing the still developing carbon material graphene. When graphene is reduced to highly economical production costs, it is entirely possible a space elevator could be built by 2050 as Obayashi announced:

“Obayashi Corporation stated that the elevator would reach 96,000km (59,652 miles) into space (for reference, space lies beyond the Kármán Line, at an altitude of 100km, the International Space Station is 330km, and the moon is 384,400km from Earth), and use robotic cars powered by magnetic linear motors (maglev, as seen in high-speed rail lines around Asia and Europe) to ferry cargo and humans to a new space station.”

Solar powerNow that everyone has a smart phone ( we are all Apple citizens now) and a smart meter, so it seems, this will require further sources of energy. Space-based solar power seems even more likely since Japan was crippled by the destruction of nuclear reactors in Fukushima, and so will be forced to explore alternative forms of energy. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), added further weight to the notion of a space-based solar power system:

“The agency is developing a complex road map involving a 1 GW extraterrestrial solar farm, a microwave beam and a man-made island in the Tokyo harbor which could be used collect solar energy in space and supply power to Earth by 2040.”

Japanese scientists reported from various news sources, are developing a spacecraft that will have a square screen of solar panels measuring more than 1.2 miles along on each side and use microwaves to beam energy down to Earth. The Japanese researchers from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency are working with Japan Space Systems to solve what they say is “one of the enduring problems associated with the most common form of renewable energy; it does not work at night and is inefficient in bad weather”. As Japan moves into space there will be further news coming on these developments including transmitting energy by using microwaves. Japanese scientists have already succeeded in transmitting energy wirelessly which may make their plans for solar power generation in space a very real possibility. We are seeing the U.S., Russia, China, Japan and European countries all moving into space faster than most people realize when people consider there have been more than 7,000 satellites launched since Sputnik. Call it “ariel electron”…