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Japan launches intelligence-gathering satellite

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Tokyo: Japan on Thursday successfully launched a rocket carrying an intelligence-gathering radar satellite from the Tanegashima Space Center in the southern part of the country.

The No. 46 H2A rocket, carrying the IGS (Intelligence Gathering Satellite) 7 spacecraft, lifted off from the space center in the southwestern prefecture of Kagoshima at 10: 50 a.m. local time on Thursday, said Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. which was tasked with the launch.

The spacecraft entered its planned orbit about 20 minutes after the launch and will replace IGS 5, said the company.

The launch was delayed for one day due to poor weather conditions as a cold snap hit Japan.

The radar satellite, with its electromagnetic tracking system, can capture images on the ground at night as well as at times when there are severe weather conditions, said the Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Center.

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