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Japan launches reconnaissance satellites
Posted: Sun, Jan 27, 2013, 9:05 AM ET (1405 GMT)
H-2A launch of Ibuki (JAXA) An H-2A rocket placed two Japanese reconnaissance satellites into orbit on Sunday during a period of heightened tensions in the region. The H-2A lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center at 11:40 pm EST Saturday (0440 GMT, 1:40 pm local time Sunday) and placed the two Information Gathering Satellite (IGS) payloads into orbit. One satellite, IGS Radar 4, is a radar imaging satellite, while the other, IGS Demo, is believed to be an experimental optical imaging satellite. The launches, planned long in advance, coincide with an increase in tensions in the region, after North Korea launched a satellite last month that many observers believe was also a demonstration of a long-range missile, and more recently threatened to conduct another underground nuclear weapons test.
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