BackForward Satellite Programme: Global Change Observation Mission for Water ("Shizuku") 

Programme details
Programme description
  • The Global Change Observation Mission (GCOM) is a follow-on to ADEOS-2, consisting of 2 series: GCOM-W for water circulation changes, and GCOM-C for climate changes.
  • GCOM-W is a series of three satellites, addressing multi-purpose MW imagery for ocean, land and precipitation.
  • Japanese programme: JAXA responsible of development and operations.
  • The platforms are actively stabilised over 3 axes.
  • The design life time is 5 years.
  • The satellites exploit sun-synchronous orbits around 13:30, coordinated with that of POES satellites, Suomi-NPP and JPSS.
  • The replacement policy is based on launching a satellite roughly 6 months before the expected end-of-life of the previous one.
  • See detailed description at
Data circulation
  • Global data stored onboard and downlinked to the Svalbard station, then transferred to the Tsukuba Space Center (TKSC).
  • Real-time transmission to a JAXA domestic station in Katsuura (with backup in Tsukuba) for further relay to the TKSC.  Also direct-read-out to specifically appointed stations.
  • Processing and distribution from TKSC.
Agencies JAXA
Programme lifetime 2012 - 2025
Associated satellites and instruments

Note: red tag => no longer operational , green tag => operational , blue tag => planned