Japan Launches First Commercial Satellite

Japan Launches First Commercial Satellite
Japan launched a telecommunications satellite by rocket on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

TOKYO, Nov. 25 (UPI) — Japan launched a telecommunications satellite by rocket on Tuesday.

The H-IIA rocket was carrying Canada’s Telesat broadcast and communications satellite, the BBC reported.

The rocket was launched from Tanegashima Space Center in southwestern Japan,The Wall Street Journal reported. It is the first commercial satellite to be launched from the country, using a Japan-made rocket.

The rocket, manufactured by Mitsubishi, carries a Telstar 12 Vantage, a broadcast and telecommunications satellite to be operated by Ottawa-based Telesat. The satellite will provide coverage to Europe and the Americas.

Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency said the H-IIA rocket was upgraded for the launch, permitting the satellite to stay closer to its geostationary orbit.

Tokyo’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said he hoped the launch would exhibit the quality of Japan’s rocket engineering, and that the successful launch would result in more orders from other global corporations.

Following the launch, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries vice president Naohiko Abe said the firm plans to actively promote the H-IIA for satellite launches.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, is Japan’s national aerospace agency formed through the merger of three organizations.

Japan launched its first satellite, Osumi, in 1970, but after two H-II launch failures in the 1990s, faced criticism for its rocket technology.


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