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April 15, 2021
International Tech

Japan launches fourth satellite for high-precision GPS

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Image: An H-2A rocket carrying Japan’s fourth and final quasi-zenith satellite, the Michibiki No. 4, lifts off from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan in this photo taken by Kyodo on October 10, 2017. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

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TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan on Tuesday launched a fourth satellite for a new high-precision global positioning system (GPS) it hopes will encourage new businesses and help spur economic growth.

The fourth Michibiki satellite lifted off from Japan’s southern Tanegashima space port aboard an H-2A rocket taking just over 28 minutes to reach orbit, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said.

Having four satellites that loop over Japan and Australia in a figure of eight orbit will allow for uninterrupted coverage and puts engineers on course to switch the system on in April.

Japanese GPS can locate devices to within several centimeters compared with the commonly-used U.S. system, which has an accuracy of about 10 meters.

Japan plans to have seven of the geo-positioning satellites in orbit by 2023.

(Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Copyright 2017 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

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