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Mar 16, 2021

Satellites Are Stranded on the ISS Because of a Military Coup

Posted by in categories: food, government, military, satellites, surveillance

Japan’s space agency wants to keep the satellite’s cameras out of military hands.


An unusual geopolitical situation is brewing aboard the International Space Station. Prior to the military coup in Myanmar earlier this year, Japan’s space agency JAXA had been collaborating with the country to build microsatellites that it planned to deploy in partnership with Myanmar’s government.

Now, JAXA has no idea what to do with the pair of 50-kilogram satellites, according to SlashGear. And while Japanese scientists hope to bring the agriculture and fishery-monitoring satellites to life, they’re currently holding them on the ISS instead of deploying them out of fear they might be misused for military purposes — a striking example of real-world geopolitics spilling over into space.

After the military coup in Myanmar, Teppei Kasai, the Asia program director for the group Human Rights Watch noted that it would be relatively straightforward to use the satellites’ Earth-facing cameras for military or surveillance purposes, according to SlashGear.

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