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Japan Launches Radar Satellite

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Japanese craft launched with night-vision mapping radar

A Japanese satellite equipped with a sharp-eyed synthetic aperture radar launched Saturday on a mission to map the globe every two weeks, helping authorities respond to natural disasters, track agricultural yields and monitor shipping lanes.

Weighing approximately 2.3 tons, the spacecraft took off at 0305:14 GMT Saturday (11:05:14 p.m. EDT Friday) from the Tanegashima Space Center, Japan's primary rocket launching facility at the southwestern end of the country. Liftoff occurred at 12:05 p.m. Japan Standard Time.

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