- TSUBAME, JAXA
- 167.4 kilometre(s)
- Japan ()
The lowest altitude by an Earth observation satellite in orbit is 167.4 km (104 mi) and was achieved by JAXA's TSUBAME (Japan) during its mission from 23 December 2017 to 1 October 2019.
TSUBAME was a Super Low Altitude Test Satellite operated by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA. With its ion engine, TSUBAME was able to capture high-resolution satellite images despite the atmospheric drag and density of atomic oxygen present in super low altitudes. It maintained seven different orbital altitudes, with 167.4 km being the lowest. At 167.4 km altitude, Tsubame used both its ion engine system and gas-jet thrusters.