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Mission type Technology
Operator JAXA
COSPAR ID 2012-025C
SATCAT no. 38339
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type SDS
Launch mass 50 kilograms (110 lb)[1]
Start of mission
Launch date 17 May 2012, 16:39 (2012-05-17UTC16:39Z) UTC[2]
Rocket H-IIA 202
Launch site Tanegashima Yoshinobu 1
Contractor Mitsubishi
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Low Earth
Perigee 666 kilometres (414 mi)
Apogee 678 kilometres (421 mi)
Inclination 98.23 degrees
Period 98.05 minutes
Epoch 30 October 2013, 08:31:20 UTC[3]

SDS-4 (Small Demonstration Satellite 4) is a small satellite (50 cm cube with mass of 50 kg) developed by JAXA and to be launched as a secondary payload on the Shizuku mission [4] in mid-2012.

There are four rather specialised systems on the satellite:

  • SPAISE (SPace-based Automatic Identification SystEm) - test on-orbit a receiver for picking up signals from Automatic Identification System transmitters on ships well out to sea, and determine how space-based reception is affected by interference between nearby transmitters and by environmental conditions.
  • FOX (Flat heat-pipe on-orbit experiment) - to test whether flat heat pipes work in space in accordance with theoretical models and with tests on Earth
  • IST (In-flight experiment of Solar absorption rate with THERME) - to acquire information about the effect of sunlight in space on thermal coatings, re-flying the THERME instrument developed by CNES for testing different thermal coatings [5]
  • QCM (Quartz Crystal Microbalance) - to test whether a Japanese-manufactured quartz microbalance works well in monitoring contamination of the satellite from assembly to on-orbit operation.


  1. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "SDS 4". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 31 October 2013. 
  2. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 31 October 2013. 
  3. ^ "SDS-4 Satellite details 2012-025C NORAD 38339". N2YO. 30 October 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2013. 
  4. ^ "JAXA SDS-4 spacecraft system design and test results" (PDF). [dead link]
  5. ^ "In-flight thermal coatings ageing on the THERME experiment" (PDF).