27 March 2015
Owned and operated by the Japanese government, the reconnaissance spacecraft lifted off at 01:21 GMT Thursday (9:21 p.m. EDT Wednesday) from the Tanegashima Space Center situated on an island in southwestern Japan, where the launch occurred at 10:21 a.m. local time.
Japan’s H-2A rocket launches a spy satellite
The satellite rocketed into space aboard Japan’s H-2A rocket, which steered south from Tanegashima to deploy its payload into polar orbit. The launcher aimed to release the satellite in an orbit about 300 miles above Earth.
The H-2A rocket’s hydrogen-fueled first and second stage engines apparently functioned as designed to put the Earth-viewing satellite into orbit. This launch marked the 28th flight of Japan’s H-2A rocket since 2001.
Japanese Rocket Launches IGS Optical-5 Payload Into Orbit
The IGS program was initiated by Japan following North Korea’s attempted launch of the Kwangmyŏngsŏng-1 satellite in August 1998; a launch which overflew Japan and raised concerns about North Korea’s ability to develop a rocket capable of attacking Japan.
IGS Optical satellite
Yesterday launch carried the first third-generation spacecraft for the series, Optical 5. Taking advantage of systems demonstrated by 2013’s prototype mission, the Optical 5 satellite will be used to image the Earth’s surface in high resolution. The prototype was reported to have had a ground resolution of approximately 40 centimeters (16 in).
For more information about Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), visit: http://global.jaxa.jp/
Images, Video, Text, Credits: JAXA/P-island & S. Matsuura/Orbiter.ch Aerospace.
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