A Japanese H2A202 rocket successfullly launched two satellites for the Japanese Defence Agency from the Tanegashima launch site at 0440 on 27 January. The main payload on the launch was the IGS-4D radar carrying spacecraft which was built for Information Gathering Satellite (IGS) programme by Mitsubishi Electric Corp. The IGS-4D spacecraft’s Synthetic Aperture Radar allows it to image the ground both at night and through clouds. The launch of IGS-4D is thought to be especially relevant to monitoring developments in North Korea’s nuclear and launch vehicle programmes. The second spacecraft on board was the IGS Optical Demonstration spacecraft, which is testing technology to be used by future IGS spacecraft.
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