Japan launches intelligence-gathering satellite
NHK -- Jun 12
Japan has put another satellite into orbit to gather intelligence for national security purposes.

An H2A rocket carrying the intelligence-gathering satellite lifted off from Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima, southern Japan, at 1:20 PM on Tuesday. It put the satellite into orbit some 20 minutes later.

The Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Center and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which carried out the launch, cited security reasons for not disclosing launch details, such as the altitude of the satellite release.

The de-facto reconnaissance satellite is designed to capture images of the Earth's surface from hundreds of kilometers up.

Japan operates optical and radar satellites. The optical type use high-performance cameras to take images during the day, while the radar satellites take photos at night and in bad weather using radio waves. The latest launch was of a radar-type satellite.

The Japanese government uses the satellites to monitor North Korea's missile-launching facilities and to assess the extent of damage in disasters among other things.

Japan now has 8 intelligence-gathering satellites in orbit. Six are in operation. An optical-type satellite launched in February is currently being prepared to go into operation.

Together, the satellites ensure every part of the Earth is covered at least once a day.

The government plans to increase the number of reconnaissance satellites in orbit to 10.

政府の情報収集衛星搭載の「H2Aロケット」39号機打ち上げ。 ※この映像にはナレーションはありません。ご了承ください。
News sources: NHK, ANNnewsCH
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