Tuesday Dec 13, 201102:55 AM GMT
Japan launches radar-equipped spy sat
Tue Dec 13, 2011 2:2AM
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Japan has launched a new radar-equipped spy satellite.
Japan has successfully put a spy satellite, equipped with radar, into orbit as the latest addition to its networks of intelligence-gathering equipment positioned around the globe.

According to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the launch took place from the Tanegashima Space Center on the remote southern island of Tanegashima at 01:21 GMT, AFP reported on Monday.

The agency described the launch as successful and said the satellite was functioning properly.

Toshiyuki Miura, spokesman for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which built the satellite, also said that everything was going “according to plan so far” and that “the rocket was launched successfully." He also said, "The satellite was separated into orbit around the Earth later.”

Japanese aerospace officials have so far refused to comment on the capabilities of the orbiter. Japanese media reports, however, pointed out that it will make responding to overseas threats and domestic disasters a lot easier by providing data on the developments on the ground during the night or despite cloudy atmosphere.

Japan has three operating optical satellites. Two radar ones were successfully placed into orbit but both broke down later. Another optical satellite was launched in September but is not yet functioning.

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