back to article Japan launches, orbits radar spy satellite

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has successfully put a radar satellite into orbit, ready to watch over its own shores and keep an eye on North Korea. While Japan already has three operational optical satellites, it hasn’t had an awful lot of luck with radar systems, which are essential to penetrate cloud cover …


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  1. ElReg!comments!Pierre


    "The project is aimed at boosting security and monitoring land in case of sizable natural disasters like the one in March,"

    Ah, so it can detect nuclear power plant, then?

    OK, OK, no need to shove, I was leaving anyway.

  2. Originone

    The tower of Babel

    "Fingers crossed that this one can snoop Norks"

    Shirley there must be cheaper and more effective ways to cop an eyeful of bulgarian airbags than launching a satellite.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Are you trying to explain smutty slang terms to staff on the reg? Seriously?

    2. Ugotta B. Kiddingme


      dude, even we former colonials know what Norks are...

  3. benzaholic

    The booster is similar to ones used to service the ISS?

    Did Japan license the design from the US or Russia, or perhaps ESA? Because those are the only ones I know of that have serviced the ISS. Weren't the Japanese modules carried up in the US Shuttle?

    Oh, and congrats to JAXA for adding one in the Win column. They could use a few more.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I believe that The Reg is referring to the HTV or HII Transfer Vehicle. This is an ISS service vehicle launched on the HII rocket. Payload is 6,000kg (wiki) and the spacecraft is 10m in length with a diameter of 4.4m. It can carry both pressurized and unpressurized cargo to the ISS.

    2. Ramazan

      did Japan license the design?

      No, this one is completely Japanese as well as H-II was. H-I used some US-licensed tech mixed with domestic components. Japan wouldn't use Russian tech because the two countries still didn't sign WWII peace agreement.

    3. Adrian Coward

      Erm, actually....

      "Did Japan license the design from the US or Russia, or perhaps ESA? Because those are the only ones I know of that have serviced the ISS."

      Japan developed the HII-A used in this launch into the HII-B that has successfully launched 2 HTV service vehicles to the Space Station. The HTV is actually more capable than either Progress or ATV since it allows full-sized racks to be delivered to the station.

  4. Shocked Jock

    North Korea?

    It's not really the main threat to Japan here, unlike the PRC, which has thousands of missiles aimed at Taiwan and has a constant threat of invasion against Taiwan. Since the PR also makes claims to control the seas which provide Japan's main shipping route west, Japan desperately needs to keep a watch on movements there.

  5. Roger Stenning

    And the real reason for the radarsat... that they're still looking for Godzilla, and reckon that he comes up for air at night!

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