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Japan to launch satellite Dec. 20 to explore Van Allen radiation belt

Kyodo

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency says it will launch a satellite Dec. 20 from the Uchinoura Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture to study high energy electrons.

The satellite, named the Exploration of Energization and Radiation in Geospace, will study the region of outer space near Earth, including the upper atmosphere, ionosphere and magnetosphere. This region is called “geospace.”

JAXA said Tuesday the satellite will gather information meant to clarify how highly charged electrons in the Van Allen radiation belt are created, as they are generated and vanish repeatedly along with space storms.

The satellite will be carried aloft by a second-generation Epsilon rocket.

The 26-meter-tall Epsilon Launch Vehicle is a revamped version of the first one launched in September 2013, with enhanced launch capability and artificial intelligence that performs checks and monitors operations.

The rocket is to be launched between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Dec. 20 from the space center in Kimotsuki, Kagoshima Prefecture.