NHK, FEBRUARY 27, 2018-- Japan has successfully sent a new government information-gathering satellite into orbit.
It was launched aboard an H2A rocket, which lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center in the southern prefecture of Kagoshima at 1:34 PM on Tuesday.
The rocket sent the satellite into orbit about 20 minutes later. The optical satellite will use high-performance cameras to take pictures during daylight.
For security reasons, the Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Center and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which was in charge of the launch, did not disclose the exact time or altitude of the satellite release.
Information-gathering satellites are designed to capture images of the Earth's surface from several hundred kilometers above, and help protect Japan's security.
Japan operates both optical and radar satellites. Radar satellites are used at night and in bad weather.
Japan now has 7 information-gathering satellites in operation, covering every part of Earth at least once a day.
The government uses the satellites to monitor such things as North Korea's missile launching facilities and disaster areas. It plans to increase their number to 10.