Tokyo, Oct 26 (EFE).- Japan successfully launched a rocket carrying a new satellite on Tuesday, replacing an aging one launched 11 years ago to improve its global positioning system (GPS) data and telecommunications.
The H-2A rocket was launched around 11.20 am local time (02:19 GMT) from the Tanegashima base in the southeast of the country, carried out by the satellite’s producer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which has participated in this type of operation since it was privatized in 2007.
The rocket, about 53 meters long and weighing around 290 tons, and the satellite separated successfully at an altitude of about 260 kilometers around half an hour after launch, a spokesperson for the conglomerate confirmed to Efe.
The new satellite will replace Michibiki No. 1, a satellite that was launched in 2010 and has reached the end of its design life.
The device is part of a system made up of three other Michibiki satellites to complement the existing US satellite network, and whose coverage has been dubbed nationally as “the Japanese GPS.”
The Japanese government wants to increase the total number of these satellites in orbit to seven by 2023, to help establish a system that guarantees communications when traditional networks stop working in cases such as natural disasters.
The objective is to avoid a situation similar to the one that occurred after the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, which knocked out some 29,000 mobile phones and 1.9 million landlines, making the search for and rescue of survivors more difficult.
The new satellites also seek to improve the coverage of services for autonomated vehicles and drones, both booming sectors. EFE