Information Gathering Satellite (情報収集衛星, Jōhō Shūshū Eisei) are the satellites of the Japanese spy satellite program. It was started as a response to the 1998 North Korean missile test over Japan. The satellite program's main mission is to provide early warning of impending hostile launches in the region. This program is under the direct control of the cabinet. All Information Gathering Satellites have been launched by H-IIA rockets from the Tanegashima Space Center.
On 28 March 2003, presumably partly in response to North Korea's launch of a Taepodong-1 missile over Japan in 1998, and partly to provide a source of satellite images other than through cooperation with the US, where the US charged roughly US$10,000 for each satellite image, Japan launched a radar and an optical spy satellite, officially known as IGS 1A and IGS 1B.· These satellites follow one another at 37-minute separation in a 492 km orbit, which passes over Pyongyang at 11:22 each day, according to observations collected on the satellite watching mailing list.
Except the satellite which failed in launching, a second optical surveillance satellite IGS 3A was launched on 11 September 2006.
A third optical satellite IGS 4A and a second radar satellite IGS 4B were launched on 24 February 2007. IGS 4A is a more advanced and experimental optical satellite.
A fourth optical satellite IGS 5A was launched on 28 November 2009. This satellite has a higher resolution than the previous generations.
Late March 2007, the first SAR satellite in the series, IGS 1B, suffered a critical power failure.· The satellite has since been observed to steadily come down and was clearly no longer under control. An uncontrolled re-entry of this satellite occurred on 26 July 2012. Since summer 2010, another of the SAR satellites, IGS 4B has also been unable to carry out its monitoring functions.
Japan launched IGS-Optical 7 reconnaissance satellite from the Tanegashima Space Center, 9 February 2020 aboard an H-2A rocket after a 12-day delay caused by a nitrogen leak. Japanese crews returned the H-2A rocket to its vertical assembly building at Tanegashima for repairs following the aborted countdown on 27 January. Officials from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, builder and prime contractor for the H-2A rocket, said the leak detected during the previous countdown was in the system providing conditioned air to the rocket. The 53-m H-2A rocket returned to Launch Pad No. 1 at the Yoshinobu launch complex at Tanegashima on 7 February in preparation for the mission's second launch attempt. Japan's government-owned orbiting robotic spy platforms are officially known as "Information Gathering Satellites" and come in radar and optical imaging variants. The spacecraft awaiting liftoff on the next H-2A flight — designated IGS Optical 7 — is the 18th Information Gathering Satellite launched by Japan's government since 2003, including two satellites lost in an H-2A launch failure. The spacecraft's specifications, including its imaging performance, are kept secret by the Japanese government. The Information Gathering Satellites are operated by the Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Center, which reports directly to the Japanese government's executive leadership.
|Launch Date (UTC)||NORAD Designation||Japanese Government Designation||Sensor Type||NORAD ID||International code||Status||Generation||Believed Resolution||Initial Orbital Parameter||Vehicle||Result|
|28 March 2003||IGS 1A||IGS-Optical 1||Optical||27698||2003-009A||Retired||1st generation of optical||Panchromatic sensor:
About 1 m (mono)
About 5 m (color)
|486–491 km, 97.3°, 94.4 min||H2A 2024||Success|
|IGS 1B||IGS-Radar 1||SAR||27699||2003-009B||Retired ||1st generation of SAR||About 1~3 m|
|29 November 2003||N/A||Nameless for launching failure||Optical||N/A||N/A||N/A||1st generation of optical||Panchromatic sensor:
About 1 m (mono)
About 5 m (color)
|N/A||Nameless for launching failure||SAR||N/A||N/A||N/A||1st generation of SAR||About 1~3 m|
|11 September 2006||IGS 3A||IGS-Optical 2||Optical||29393||2006-037A||Retired||2nd generation of optical
|1 m||478–479 km, 97.4°, 94.2 min||H2A 202||Success|
|24 February 2007||IGS 4A||IGS-Optical 3V||Optical||30586||2007-005A||Retired||3rd generation of optical
(Largely improved type)
|About 60 cm||481–494 km, 97.2°, 94.4 min||H2A 2024||Success|
|IGS 4B||IGS-Radar 2||SAR||30587||2007-005B||Retired ||2nd generation of SAR
|28 November 2009||IGS 5A||IGS-Optical 3||Optical||36104||2009-066A||Retired ||3rd generation of optical
(Largely improved type)
|About 60 cm||Unknown||H2A 202||Success|
|22 September 2011||IGS 6A||IGS-Optical 4||Optical||37813||2011-050A||Retired||4th generation of optical||About 60 cm||Unknown||H2A 202||Success|
|12 December 2011||IGS 7A||IGS-Radar 3||SAR||37954||2011-075A||Operational||3rd generation of SAR||About 1 m||Unknown||H2A 202||Success|
|27 January 2013||IGS 8A||IGS-Radar 4||SAR||39061||2013-002A||Operational||3rd generation of SAR||About 1 m||Unknown||H2A 202||Success|
|IGS 8B||IGS-Optical 5V||Optical||39062||2013-002B||Retired||5th generation of optical||40 cm|
|1 February 2015||IGS 9A||IGS-Radar Spare||SAR||40381||2015-004A||Operational||3rd generation of SAR||About 1 m||Unknown||H2A 202||Success|
|26 March 2015||IGS O-5||IGS-Optical 5||Optical||40538||2015-015A||Operational||5th generation of optical||30 cm  or 40 cm ||Unknown||H2A 202||Success|
|17 March 2017||IGS R-5||IGS-Radar 5||SAR||42072||2017-015A||Operational||4th generation of SAR||50 cm ||Unknown||H2A 202||Success|
|27 February 2018 ||IGS O-6||IGS-Optical 6||Optical||43223||2018-021A||Operational||Unknown||H2A 202||Success|
|12 June 2018||IGS R-6||IGS-Radar 6||SAR||43495||2018-052A||Operational||Unknown||H2A 202||Success|
|9 February 2020 ||IGS O-7||IGS-Optical 7||Optical||45165||2020-009A||Operational||Higher performance than 30 cm||Unknown||H2A 202||Success|