Japan Launches a New Intelligence Satellite

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Japan Launches a New Intelligence Satellite
Japan’s intelligence satellite IGS Optical 8, launched on the 12th of January, is intended to monitor North Korea’s military activity.

The satellite was launched by the Japanese firm Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ H-2A rocket carrying the satellite, which took off from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Centre. IGS Optical 8, set to become a part of Japan’s planned satellite constellation, is an optics-carrying one with a ground resolution of more than 40 cm. Its brethren, Optical 5, Optical 6 and Optical 7, are in active use.  IGS Optical 8’s target orbit is a 310-mile-high sun-synchronous path to function under sun-light conditions. 
In addition to military use, the satellite will improve awareness and response during a natural disaster such as an earthquake or a more threatening tsunami. Remote photography of the disaster area can help with navigation through ruins and damage control activities.
Japan began this programme as a direct reaction to North Korea testing a Taepodong-1 missile over Japanese territory in 1988. 
 

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