by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Aug 15, 2008
Mitsubishi Electric Corp. announced Friday that it had successfully launched Japan's first domestically produced commercial communications satellite.
The Superbird-7 blasted into space on a launcher made by European consortium Arianespace earlier in the day from the Guiana Space Center, before successfully separating from the rocket, the company said in a statement.
The five-ton satellite, to be operated by Space Communications Corp., will orbit the earth at a height of 36,000 kilometers (22,369 miles), where it will undergo testing until September.
So far all 18 satellites currently operated by Japanese broadcast and communications companies have been made in the United States, the firm said.
Japan, like China and India, has been stepping up its space operations.
It suffered a high-profile setback in 2003 when it was forced to destroy a rocket carrying a spy satellite after lift-off because a booster failed to separate.
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