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Japan's space agency launches infrared satellite

Japan's space agency launched a rocket carrying an ASTRO-F infrared satellite after a one-day delay.

india Updated: Feb 22, 2006 11:08 IST

Japan's space agency launched a rocket carrying an ASTRO-F infrared satellite on Wednesday after a one-day delay because of rainy weather, the agency said.

The M-V rocket lifted off from Uchinoura, 1,000 km southwest of Tokyo, on schedule at 6.28am, said Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency spokeswoman Nobuko Sato.

The one-ton satellite ASTRO-F is an Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) that can map the sky at infrared wavelengths. The infrared satellite was first developed by Britain, the United States and the Netherlands.

The launch had originally been set for on Tuesday morning, but was delayed because rainfall could have endangered the rocket's ascent.

The ASTRO-F's launch follows a string of successes for the agency, which has struggled in the past.

The agency, also known as JAXA, launched two H-2A rockets from the remote, southern island of Tanegashima in January and February, each carrying observation satellites.

Japan has also said it will launch two spy satellites by March 2007 to monitor North Korea and other trouble spots.

First Published: Feb 22, 2006 11:08 IST