Japan has launched its first military communications satellite to boost the broadband capacity of its Self Defence Forces.
The satellite is designed to upgrade Japan’s network in the face of China’s and North Korea’s missile threat.
The Kirameki-2 (kee-RAH-meh-kee 2) satellite was on an H-2A rocket that lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan. The satellite separated from the rocket and entered a designated orbit, the Defense Ministry said.
The satellite is one of three planned so-called X-band satellites, that will quadruple the Japan’s broadband capacity. It will replace civilian satellites currently used by Japan’s military.
Japan and China are locked in a territorial dispute in the East China Sea over a group of uninhabited islands known as the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
Japan is concerned that a recent increase in Chinese military activity is a sign China is looking to extend its military influence from the neighboring South China Sea as a challenge to U.S. maritime dominance.
The total cost for the three satellites comes to 230 billion yen (US $2.88 billion), the ministry said.