Japan to launch intelligence-gathering satellite next month

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TOKYO, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) — Japan will launch an H2A rocket carrying a government optical intelligence-gathering satellite next month from a launch site in southwestern Japan, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. said on Monday.

Mitsubishi Heavy, which is in charge of the launch, said the H2A F41 rocket will lift off between 10 a.m. and noon on Jan. 27 from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture.

Japan operates two types of reconnaissance satellites. The optical type uses high-performance cameras to take images during the day, while the radar satellites capture images in the evening and in poor weather conditions.

In June last year, the H2A F39 rocket was used to launch a radar intelligence-gathering satellite at the same launch site.

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