The Japanese Aerospace and Exploration Agency (JAXA) has successfully launched its ALOS-2 (Advanced Land Observing Satellite) which is also known as DAICHI-2.  The launch of the Earth resources and disaster monitoring spacecraft took place from the Tanegashima launch site in Japan and used an H-IIA launch vehicle.  Lift off occurred at 0305 GMT on 24 May 2014.  The synthetic aperture radar (SAR) spacecraft was placed into a 635km sun-synchronous orbit. The 2120kg spacecrfaft carries the PALSAR-2 radar to image the Earth.   Four smaller spacecraft were also carried on the flight:  Uniform-1 for wildfire monitoring, RISING 1 for lightning research, Sprout – inflatable research craft,  and SOCRATE which is to demonstrate laser communications.

Artist's impression of ALOS 2 Courtesy: JAXA

Artist’s impression of ALOS 2 Courtesy: JAXA