Japanese, Korean Satellites Lofted by H-2A Rocket

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WASHINGTON — A Japanese environmental monitoring satellite successfully deployed its solar paddle and main sensor antenna after being launched along with a Korean imaging spacecraft aboard an H-2A rocket, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) reported May 18.

JAXA’s Global Change Observation Mission 1st-Water (GCOM-W1) satellite and the Korean Multipurpose Satellite-3 (Kompsat-3) lifted off from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center during the early morning hours May 18, the agency said.  Kompsat-3 separated from the rocket’s upper stage about 16 minutes after liftoff, with GCOM-W1 releasing just under 7 minutes later, JAXA said.

The launch also deployed JAXA’s Small Demonstration Satellite 4, which the agency declared to be healthy and transmitting data.

GCOM-W1, equipped with the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 instrument, will monitor global water circulation patterns in conjunction with the NASA-JAXA Global Precipitation Monitoring satellite, currently scheduled to launch in February 2014 on a Japanese rocket.

Kompsat-3 carries a German-supplied optical camera capable of collecting imagery at resolutions of 70 centimeters, meaning objects of that size and larger can be detected.