Japan Successfully Launches Intelligence Satellite

Science Society Technology

Tanegashima, Kagoshima Pref., Feb. 9 (Jiji Press)--Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. <7011> successfully launched an intelligence-gathering optical satellite of the government on an H-2A rocket on Sunday.

The H-2A Launch Vehicle No. 41 blasted off from the Tanegashima Space Center in the southwestern prefecture of Kagoshima at 10:34 a.m. (1:34 a.m. GMT). The satellite subsequently entered the planned orbit.

It was the 35th consecutive successful launch of an H-2A rocket, raising the launch success rate to 97.6 pct.

Mitsubishi Heavy initially planned to launch the rocket on Nov. 28 but postponed it due to the discovery of leaks from the ground piping to supply nitrogen gas for air conditioning in the rocket.

Operated by the Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Center, the satellite is the latest in a series of de facto spy satellites introduced after North Korea's launch of a ballistic missile over the Japanese archipelago in 1998.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press