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Japan’s ASNARO-2 launched on third Epsilon flight

Japan’s experimental radar imaging satellite ASNARO-2 was launched Thursday aboard the third flight of the Epsilon rocket. Liftoff – from the Uchinoura Space Centre – occurred at the opening of a twenty-four-minute, two-second window opening at 06:06:11 local time (21:06 UTC on Wednesday). Japan’s first launch of 2018, Wednesday’s mission was originally scheduled towards the end of last year, before an electrical issue with the rocket delayed its liftoff. Epsilon was tasked with deploying the ASNARO-2 satellite into a sun-synchronous low Earth orbit. Advanced Satellite with New System Architecture for Observation 2 – or ASNARO-2 – is the second in a series of experimental Earth imaging satellites operated by Japan Space Systems, formerly the Institute for Unmanned Space Experiment Free Flyer (USEF). A radar imaging mission, it follows the ASNARO-1 optical satellite that launched aboard Russia’s Dnepr rocket in November 2014. The mission is funded by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry through its New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO).

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