Japan has successfully sent a satellite into orbit in an attempt to improve space-based global navigation system used in cars and other services.
According to a report published by Kyodo news agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) sent up the quasi-zenith Michibiki satellite at 8:17 p.m. local time (11:17 GMT) on Saturday to excel at the Global Positioning System (GPS).
The satellite was launched from Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, located at the southern tip of Kyushu island in southwest Japan, using an H2A rocket. The 4-ton Michibiki satellite was detached from the rocket 28 minutes after the launch.
Michibiki later stabilized and had its solar panels spread out on two huge wings for electricity generation.
According to reports, the rocket’s payload is the first of three planned satellites to fill coverage gaps from US GPS satellites caused by signal blockage from mountains and skyscrapers.
Developed by JAXA and a number of government ministries, the satellite system is aimed at overcoming ground interference by launching more navigation satellites strategically positioned high in the sky above Asia.