Japan's self-developed H-2 rocket blasted off on Saturday for the fourth time to place in orbit observation and radio satellites.
The two-stage rocket was launched from the Tanegashima Space Centre about 1,000 kilometers southwest of Tokyo.
Japan's self-developed H-2 rocket blasted off for the fourth time on Saturday to place into orbit a 3.5-ton satellite for an international Earth observation project and a 50- kilogram amateur radio satellite.
The 50-metre, two-stage rocket was launched at 10:53 a.m. from the Tanegashima Space Centre on Tanegashima Island, about 1,000 kilometers (km) southwest of Tokyo.
It released the Advanced Earth Observing Satellite (ADEOS), the nation's biggest satellite, about 15 minutes after the blastoff.
ADEOS is designed to monitor the global environment.
It is loaded with eight sensors, five of which were developed by Japan, two by the U-S National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and one by the French national space research center CNES.
The sensors will monitor ocean temperatures, ocean surface wind speed and direction, greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and the Earth's ozone layer.
The aim is to contribute to a global climate research program.
ADEOS will be put into a sun-synchronous circular orbit some 800 km above Earth.
The radio satellite will be settled in an elliptical orbit 800 km above the North Pole and 1,300 km above the South Pole.
The H-2 is Japan's first rocket made purely from domestic technology.
To date, three H-2 rockets have been test-launched successfully since a maiden launch in February 1994.
The fourth rocket is billed as the first commercial one.
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