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UPDATED: 14:14, September 11, 2006
Japan launches spy satellite with H-2A rocket
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Japan successfully launched a spy satellite with an H-2A rocket on Monday from Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan's Kagoshima prefecture, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said.

The intelligence-gathering satellite, which was launched at 1: 35 p.m. (0435 GMT), has separated with the rocket and been sent into a preconcerted orbit, the agency said.

The satellite is the first one of the second pair of spy satellites, in Japan's plan of building a global information gathering system.

The optical satellite is capable of a resolution of one meter and can distinguish objects such as cars on the ground. If the launch turns to be a success, Japan will send a radar satellite, which is the remaining half of the second pair, later in the year, the agency said.

The new pair of satellites is designed to work with the first two to take pictures on any point of the earth surface at least once a day.

Japan launched the first pair of satellites successfully in March 2003, but failed the launch of a second set due to rocket problems later that year.

Source: Xinhua

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