National

Japan to launch intelligence-gathering satellite in January

Kyodo

An H-IIA rocket carrying a government optical intelligence-gathering satellite is scheduled for launch in January, according to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.

The device will join Japan’s seven other reconnaissance satellites believed to be utilized for such purposes as monitoring developments at North Korean missile sites.

The H-IIA rocket is set to lift off between 10 a.m. and noon Jan. 27 from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, Mitsubishi Heavy said Monday.

Japan operates two types of reconnaissance satellites — optical satellites that take photos of the ground using a device similar to a digital camera, and radar satellites that can be used to capture images in the evening as well as in poor weather conditions.

According to the government, Japan is currently operating five radar and two optical satellites, and aims to operate a total of 10 in the future.

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