Tokyo: Japan on Thursday launched an information-gathering satellite (IGS) with an optical reconnaissance payload on an H-2A rocket, the country’s second launch this year.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd., launched the spy satellite from Tanegashima Space Centre in Kagoshima prefecture, Xinhua reported.
JAXA announced the separation of the rocket and the satellite as planned and the satellite successfully entered orbit. Operated by Japan’s Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Centre, which reports directly to the government’s executive leadership, the country’s IGS programme consists of optical and radar imaging spacecraft.
Thursday’s launch carried the 14th spacecraft in Japan IGS series. It is also the country’s fifth launch of satellites in fiscal 2014 (April 1, 2014-March 31, 2015), hitting a record high number in a single fiscal, and only 53 days after Japan launched a backup intelligence satellite on February 1.
Information obtained and images captured by the satellites are subjected to a law enacted last year to enable the Japanese government designate information it deems sensitive as state secrets. Up to three more launches from Tanegashima are planned before the end of 2015.
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