Japan on 1 February 2015 successfully launched the Information Gathering Satellite, a spy satellite. The Satellite was launched from the Tanegashima Space Centre in the Kagoshima Prefecture in the south of Japan.
The satellite was taken into orbit by the H-2A (H-IIA) carrier rocket. The satellite carries a sophisticated radar payload designed to survey the globe night and day in all weather conditions from an orbit about 300 miles above Earth.
The Satellite was scheduled to be launched on 29 January 2015. However, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries delayed the planned launch due to the possibility of lightning during lift-off.
Japan began putting spy satellites into operation in the early 2000s after its neighbour North Korea fired a mid-range ballistic missile over the Japanese mainland into the western Pacific in 1998.
Following this, Japan began the Information Gathering Satellite program. Although the program was initially aimed at monitoring North Korea, but the satellites could take pictures of nearly any place on Earth each day.
Under the program, Japan had launched various spy satellites. This is the fifth spy satellite that Japan has launched into the Earth’s orbit on 1 February 2015. The other four Japanese satellites that are orbiting the Earth include two optical imaging spacecrafts and two radar satellites.
When: 1 February 2015