Japan Launches New Spy Satellite

Japan on Sunday successfully launched a back-up spy satellite, its aerospace agency said, after cancelling an earlier lift-off due to bad weather.

rocket carrying

Tokyo put spy satellites into operation in the early 2000s after its erratic neighbour North Korea fired a mid-range ballisticmissile over the Japanese mainland and into the western Pacific in 1998. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries delayed Thursday s planned launch of the H-2A rocket from Tanegashima Space Center in southwestern Japan, due to the possibility of lightning during lift-off. 

The launch at 10:21 am (0121 GMT) on Sunday was successful, JAXA and Mitsubishi Heavy said, adding: “We confirmed the rocket launched normally.” Four Japanese intelligence satellites are currently in orbit — two optical satellites and two radar satellites. The backup satellite will supplement the two radar satellites, a government official said earlier.