Japan launched an X-band defense communications satellite on Tuesday for the Japanese Ministry of Defense.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. launched the X-band defense communications satellite-2 aboard the H-2A Launch Vehicle No.32 at 4:44 p.m. local time on Tuesday from JAXA's Tanegashima Space Center in Japan's southwestern Kagoshima prefecture.
The Kirameki-2 satellite is the first communication satellite for the Japanese Ministry of Defense, which shoulders the mission to upgrade the Self-Defense Forces'(SDF) communications network.
The Kirameki-2 satellite, operating with X-band technology, is one of three defense communications satellites which will replace three civilian satellites used by the Self-Defense Forces at present.
The new satellites will facilitate direct communication among units of the Ground, Maritime and Air Self-Defense Forces through a high-speed and high-capacity network and serve as a communication infrastructure, local media quoted Defense Ministry officials as saying on Tuesday.
The Kirameki-2 is designed to operate over the Indian Ocean and to serve the SDF personnel taking part in U.N. peacekeeping operations in South Sudan and the antipiracy mission in waters off Somalia, said the officials.
In 2008, Japan's Diet approved a law on general principles for the use of space, allowing non-aggressive defense use of space and overturning a decades-old policy of limiting space development to peaceful uses.
Under the law, the use and exploitation of space should be conducted to serve the security of Japan, relaxing the principle of nonmilitary use based on a parliamentary resolution in 1969 under the war-renouncing Constitution.
The new law changes Japan's policy of space use to "non-aggression" from "non-military" and would allow Japan's defense ministry to launch its own satellite including surveillance satellites and an early-warning satellite. (Updated)