Japan launches intelligence-gathering satellite

Updated: 2013-01-27 20:03


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OSAKA - Japan launched Sunday an intelligence-gathering satellite from a rocket launch site in the southern Japanese prefecture of Kagoshima, local press reported.

Japan launches intelligence-gathering satellite

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 launch took place as planned at 1:40 pm local time at Tanegashima Space Center on Tanegashima Island of the prefecture, and the satellite has successfully gone into orbit around the earth, according to the country's public broadcaster Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK).

Sunday's event also marked the 16th consecutive successful liftoff of an H-2A rocket.

The report stressed that the spacecraft is equipped with a radar system which can take images whenever needed, even at night or in bad weather, adding that the satellite is designed to take images of objects as small as one meter on the earth from several hundred kilometers in space.

Currently, Japan has one radar satellite and three optical satellites in operation. The new radar satellite is reportedly to start operation by May mainly as a "reconnaissance" satellite to cover every part of the world once a day, as well as improve its satellite network.

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