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Japan launches spysat
Posted: Mon, Sep 11, 2006, 1:58 PM ET (1758 GMT)
H-2A launch on flight 4 (NASDA) A Japanese rocket launched that nation's third intelligence satellite on Monday. The H-2A rocket lifted off from the Tanegashima launch site at 12:35 am EDT (0435 GMT) and placed into orbit the Intelligence Gathering Satellite (IGS) 3A. Few details about the launch were released by the Japanese space agency JAXA, including no specifics about the spacecraft itself. Japan launched a pair of reconnaissance satellites in early 2003, but a second pair were lost later that year in a launch failure. Japan has stepped up its efforts to develop its own space reconnaissance capabilities in response to long-range missile development by North Korea. The launch was the third this year for the H-2A and the fourth overall for Japan; another launch, of a science satellite, is planned for later this month using the smaller M-5 rocket.
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