Monday, January 28, 2013

Japan sends two intelligence satellites into orbit

On Sunday, Japan launched two intelligence satellites amid increasing concerns that North Korea might conduct further long-range rocket tests and nuclear tests. Officials said that the two satellites -- an experimental optical probe and an operational radar satellite -- were successfully sent into orbit aboard the native H2-A rocket.

Back in 1998, Japan officially began its intelligence satellite program after North Korea blasted a long-range missile over Japanese mainland. Just last month, Korea launched a rocket which sent a supposed satellite into orbit, but the U.S and others condemned it as a cover for its development of missile technology.

Japan’s latest launch was planned long before the current growing tension with North Korea, and this new intelligence satellite emphasizes the country’s wariness and suspicion of its neighbor’s abilities and intentions.

The radar satellite recently launched by Japan is capable of providing data through cloud cover and at night, and is intended to broaden the country’s constellation network. The optical probe, meanwhile, will be used to test future technology and improvements to empower Japan’s surveillance capabilities.

Aside from expanding its surveillance capabilities, Japan also collaborated with the United States in establishing a missile defense shield due to North Korea’s threat.

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