H-2 rocket. NASA image.

The satellite, named Optical-4, is meant to keep an eye on the North Korean ballistic missile program.

Originally set to launch in August, the mission was delayed until September 17 due to an issue with the launch vehicle’s range safety system (receiver). A local typhoon delayed the launch further, prior to the vehicle lifting off into blue skies on Friday.

The Information Gathering Satellite (IGS) is a military spy satellite system, which was designed as a response to North Korea’s 1998 missile test over Japan.

Its primary mission is to provide early warning of impending hostile launches. During their mission, the pairing of satellites allowed them to fly on a 492 km orbit at a separation distance of 37 minutes, as they made passes over the North Korean capital each day.

Read much more at NASA Spaceflight.com.

JSW pal and editor of the Japanese in Space blog will have more on the launch later this week.

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A contributor and editor at the blog War Is Boring, Kyle Mizokami started Japan Security Watch in 2010 to further understand Japan's defenses and security policy.
Kyle Mizokami has 536 post(s) on Japan Security Watch