A H-2A medium launch vehicle has launched a radar reconnaissance satellite, IGS-5, for the Japanese government. The mission lifted off from the Yoshinobu Launch Complex Pad 1, part of the Tanegashima Space Center, at 0120 GMT on 17 March, and carried the spacecraft into a sun-synchronous low-Earth orbit (LEO). The launch utilised the H-2A launch vehicle in its “202” configuration.

The H-2A vehicle is built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), which also builds its sister vehicle the H-2B.  The spacecraft was supplied by Mitsubishi Electric (MELCO).

 

Japanese H-2A rocket lifts off with IGS-5. Courtesy of Twitter - Koumei Shibata

Japanese H-2A rocket lifts off with IGS-5. Courtesy of Twitter – Koumei Shibata

 

IGS-5 is part of the Information Gathering Satellites (IGS) project, a space-based reconnaissance programme operated by the Japanese Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Center (CSIC), which reports directly to the government. The IGS programme is made up of optical and radar satellites working in pairs to provide Earth Observation (EO) data.