vendredi 17 mars 2017

Japan launches spy satellite against Pyongyang

JAXA - Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency logo.

March 17, 2017

The launch took place from the Tanegashima Space Center (southwestern Japan)

This new satellite complements an intelligence gathering device to monitor the movements of North Korea.

Japan has placed a spy satellite in space on Friday, complementing an intelligence gathering system aimed at monitoring the movements of North Korea.

The launch took place as scheduled at 10:20 local time (01H20 GMT) with the 33rd H-2A rocket from Tanegashima base (southwestern Japan), according to live images on the NHK public channel. "The satellite has separated as planned, the mission is a success," a spokesman for the Japan Space Exploration Agency (Jaxa) told AFP.

Japan launches IGS Radar 5 spy satellite against Pyongyang

Due to the confidential nature of the mission carried out with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), little information is given, except that it concerns the placement of an "information-gathering" radar satellite that joins A fleet already in place. It was the 33rd launches of the H-2A launcher, whose success rate now exceeds 97%. A single failure was deplored at the end of 2003 when he was due to orbit the first spy satellite of the device.

Surveillance imagined in the 90s

Several of the satellites of this nature launched since then have also suffered damage, but the whole is functional, with four operational and three replacements (the one sent this Friday and two others), half optical equipment and radar.

The surveillance of the North Korean neighbors' space had been imagined in the late 1990s because of the fears of North Korea, which had just been firing missiles. Since then, the Pyongyang regime has not calmed down, on the contrary, the threat has even intensified.

 IGS Radar satellite.Image Credits:, S. Matsuura

On the orders of the leader Kim Jong-Un, the North Koreans fired on March 6 a salvo of ballistic missiles, three of which ended their race at sea near the Japanese archipelago. The ambition is to develop a ballistic intercontinental missile (ICBM) capable of carrying nuclear fire on the American continent.

Japan's spy satellites allow one-meter objects to be spotted on the ground at night, or through a cloudy ceiling, from an altitude of several hundred kilometers. They can also be used to collect data on the damage caused by natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis or typhoons. The complete device is supposed to allow observing at least once a day each terrestrial zone.

In the future, the government plans to extend the fleet to 10 aircraft in order to have several views of the same land-based location on a daily basis.

For more information about Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), visit:

Images, Video, Text, Credits: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)/AFP/, S. Matsuura/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.


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