September 24, 2011
On 23 September 2011, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully launched an H-2A rocket from the Yoshinobu Launch Complex at Tanegashima Space Centre in south-western Japan.
The rocket released an information-gathering optical satellite to replace and update an existing model. The primary mission of the satellite program is to provide early warning of impending hostile missile launches and was justified by North Korea’s ongoing missile and nuclear programs.
The satellite program allows the pairing of satellites flying on a 492 km orbit at a separation distance of 37 minutes, allowing regular passes over the North Korean territory.
The program plans for the launch of two radar satellites for the capture of night and in cloud weather images. Kyodo News reports development costs of the latest addition came to USD471 million.