Space: March 30, 2003


On March 28th, Japan used a H2A booster to launch two reconnaissance satellites. These were the first spy satellites launched by Japan. Designed and manufactured in Japan, the spy sats can distinguish objects as small as one meter (39 inches) in diameter. The project cost $2.1 billion and includes another launch later this year to place two more satellites in orbit. This fleet of four spy birds would enable Japan to quickly photograph any place on earth on a continual basis. The main reason for this effort is North Korea, whose military aggressiveness and instability is becoming a major political issue in Japan. The H2A is a 348 ton rocket that costs about $90 million per launch. Max payload (for low orbit) is three tons. 




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