Japan has successfully launched a rocket carrying a successor satellite to join the Japanese-version of a global positioning system.
The H2A No.44 rocket lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan, at 11:19 a.m. on Tuesday, carrying the fifth Michibiki satellite. About 30 minutes after liftoff, the satellite detached from the launch vehicle more than 260 kilometers above the earth.
Four Michibiki satellites are in orbit around the earth, and complement US GPS satellites. At least one of the Japanese satellites is always above Japan to send positioning information to be used for smartphones or car navigation systems.
The satellite launched on Tuesday is fifth in the Japanese system. It will replace an aging one launched 11 years ago, whose expected life span has already expired.
The new satellite will add stability to the system, for accurate positioning signals without errors in some urban and mountainous areas.