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Mitsubishi Heavy Launches H-IIA Rocket Carrying Japan’s Spy Satellite

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has achieved a significant milestone in space exploration and national security with the successful launch of an H-IIA rocket carrying Japan’s Information-Gathering Satellite “Optical-8”. This event marks a key development in Japan’s aerospace capabilities and strategic surveillance.

Launch Details

  • Date and Time: The launch occurred on January 12, 2024, at 1:44 pm local time from the Tanegashima Space Center.
  • Rocket Type: The H-IIA rocket, a flagship launch vehicle of Japan, was used for this mission.
  • Satellite: The payload was the “Optical-8”, an information-gathering (reconnaissance) satellite.
  • Success Rate: This launch was the 48th for the H-IIA rocket since its inception in 2001, further solidifying its reliability with a high success rate​​​​​.

The objective of the Satellite

The Optical-8 satellite is designed primarily for intelligence gathering. It is equipped with advanced optical devices to collect security information. This development is crucial for Japan’s strategic surveillance and defence capabilities, especially considering regional geopolitical dynamics.

Future of Japan’s Space Program

  • Transition to H-3 Rocket: Japan plans to retire the H-IIA rocket after two more launches, transitioning to the H-3 rocket. This move is part of Japan’s ongoing efforts to advance its space technology.
  • Challenges and Developments: The transition to the H-3 rocket has faced challenges, including a failed test launch in March of the previous year. However, a new experimental launch is planned for February 15, indicating continued progress and commitment to advancing Japan’s space exploration capabilities​.

Important Questions Related to Exams

Q1. What significant milestone did Mitsubishi Heavy Industries achieve in space exploration and national security?
a) Successful launch of a communication satellite
b) Launch of an interplanetary probe
c) Successful launch of an H-IIA rocket carrying Optical-8 satellite
d) Development of a lunar rover

Q2. When did the successful launch of the H-IIA rocket carrying the Optical-8 satellite take place?
a) January 10, 2024
b) January 11, 2024
c) January 12, 2024
d) January 13, 2024

Q3. From which space centre was the H-IIA rocket launched?
a) Kennedy Space Center
b) Tanegashima Space Center
c) Baikonur Cosmodrome
d) Guiana Space Centre

Q4. What is the primary purpose of Japan’s Information-Gathering Satellite “Optical-8”?
a) Weather monitoring
b) Intelligence gathering (reconnaissance)
c) Global positioning
d) Space tourism

Q5. What rocket is Japan planning to transition to after retiring the H-IIA rocket?
a) H-IIIA
b) H-IB
c) H-3
d) H-V

Q6. What is the objective of the Optical-8 satellite launched by the H-IIA rocket?
a) Weather forecasting
b) Intelligence gathering for national security
c) Satellite internet services
d) Space tourism promotion

Q7. Why is the development of Optical-8 crucial for Japan’s strategic surveillance and defence capabilities?
a) To enhance weather monitoring
b) To advance space tourism
c) To collect security information
d) To improve satellite internet services

Kindly share your responses in the comment section.

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