Japan's info satellite could detect missile launch
Updated: 2013-01-27 20:01
TOKYO - Japan launched an information- gathering radar satellite, which could detect missile launch outside the country, by using an H-2A rocket on Sunday.
A H-2A rocket carrying an information gathering radar satellite blasts off from the launching pad at Tanegashima Space Center on the Japanese southwestern island of Tanegashima, about 1,000km (621 miles) southwest of Tokyo, in this photo taken by Kyodo on January 27, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]
The satellite, along with an optical satellite, was launched by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd at 1: 40 pm local time from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan.
Differing from optical satellite that could only detect the ground at sunny day time, the radar satellite is capable of detecting objects on the ground even at night and through cloud cover.
The radar satellite, which is actually an intelligence- gathering satellite, is reportedly to operate fully in April.
The orbit and capability of the radar satellite as well as information collected by it are confidential and have never been released.
Japan began to research such intelligence satellite after the Democratic People's Republic of Korea launched a missile in 1998.