Japan Launches Info-Gathering Satellite to Spy on North Korea [Watch Video Stream]
North Korea may no longer be as inaccessible to the outside world as they were before. A Japanese satellite was recently launched to spy on the elusive, nuclear-armed country.
Japan just launched a new spy satellite to orbit. The satellite is specifically designed to keep an eye on North Korea and its fatal nuclear armory.
The satellite, called Information Gathering Satellite (IGS) Radar 5, was launched atop a Japanese H-IIA rocket from the Tanegashima Space Center at 9:30 p.m. last March 16 (10:20 a.m. on March 17 in Japanese local time), according to Space.com.
There was no live webcast provided by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), but a company called Neconvideo Visual Solutions provided a live stream of the launch.
Japan has been continuously watching North Korea since the country initiated missile tests with the fear of launching fatal nuclear weapons.
The continued development of North Korea's missile program has a lot to do with Japan's new spy satellite. Reports say that in 1998, North Korea directed missile tests that flew almost close or even over Japan. North Korea had also been vocal about its nuclear weapons, threatening its neighboring countries and the U.S. with attacks.
Despite its main goal as a spy satellite, experts say that the IGS will also serve as Japan's eye in monitoring natural disasters and is believed to possess other features aside from spying on North Korea. The satellites are linked to different control systems in order to function. Some use optical sensors to observe the ground below while some depend on radar instruments.
This is not the first for Japan to launch an IGS satellite. The latest one is the 15th in the programs, according to new reports. Some were lost during launches while some remain operational until today. Japan also kept some of the details about the spy satellite private. For example, its exact orbit was not divulged.