Japan Launches Spy Satellite

An H2-A rocket carrying two satellites lifts off from its launch pad at Tanegashima Space Center, southwestern Japan on Sunday. /Kyodo-Newsis An H2-A rocket carrying two satellites lifts off from its launch pad at Tanegashima Space Center, southwestern Japan on Sunday. /Kyodo-Newsis

Japan has launched a new spy satellite amid growing international worries that North Korea could conduct another nuclear test.

The radar satellite was put into orbit from Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture in southern Japan and is capable of taking photograph of any location on earth as it rotates in geosynchronous orbit. It supplements two other Japanese satellites already in orbit.

The rocket that launched the spy satellite also carried another satellite, which will conduct tests for further development of such devices.

The spy satellite uses electronic signals, making it capable of monitoring at night and in cloudy weather. It can distinguish objects down to a size of 1 m.

Tokyo started deploying spy satellites after North Korea's launch of the Taepodong missile in 1998, which flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific.

Meanwhile, South Korea also plans to launch its own Naro rocket on Jan. 30, but the satellite it carries is for scientific purposes.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jan. 28, 2013 12:17 KST