H-2A rocket launches with Japanese radar reconnaissance craft

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Published by : CT WEB 2017-03-17 16:46:57

A Japanese spy satellite launched aboard an H-2A rocket Friday, heading for a 300-mile-high (500-kilometer) orbit to track North Korean and Chinese military movements as tensions run high in the region.

Equipped with a cloud-penetrating radar capable of seeing targets day or night, the secretive spacecraft was enclosed in the nose fairing of the H-2A rocket for the ride into orbit. Liftoff from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan occurred at 0120 GMT Friday (9:20 p.m. EDT Thursday) at the opening of a nearly 14-minute launch window.

The launch was timed for 10:20 a.m. Friday Japan Standard Time. The mission was delayed 24 hours due to a poor weather forecast Thursday.

Japanese government officials have not disclosed the exact capabilities of the radar spy satellite, but the radar instrument aboard the surveillance orbiter can likely resolve objects on the ground as small as a meter, or around 3 feet, in size.

(Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency)

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