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Japan launches backup intelligence satellite

Japan on Sunday launched a backup information gathering satellite with a radar reconnaissance payload for the Japanese government.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.-- Japan's space agency and the commercial operator of the H-2A rocket-- launched the spy satellite aboard a H-2A rocket at 10:21 a.m. (0121 GMT) on Sunday from Tanegashima Space Center in Japan's southwestern Kagoshima prefecture.

The launch was supposed to take off on Jan. 29, but was delayed due to adverse weather conditions.

The information gathering satellite is equipped with a radar spy instrument capable of peering through clouds, darkness and camouflage to obtain high-resolution imagery of the Earth's surface.

The exact capabilities of the satellite are kept secret by the Japanese government.

[Source: Xinhua, Tokyo, 01Feb15]

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