TOKYO, Jan. 25, Kyodo — Japan is set to launch an H-2A rocket carrying a government intelligence-gathering satellite on March 16, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. said Wednesday.
Effectively intended for reconnaissance purposes, the “Radar 5” satellite will add to the nation’s six other intelligence satellites currently in operation.
Japan currently operates three optical satellites with advanced cameras and two radar satellites that can take photos even at night or in bad weather. It also has a spare radar satellite.
The launch is planned between 10:00 a.m. and noon on March 16 at the space agency’s Tanegashima Space Center on the Tanegashima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture in southwestern Japan.
The government aims to increase the number of reconnaissance satellites in operation to 10, including two data-relay satellites.