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Japan launches fourth satellite for high-precision GPS

Reuters logo Reuters 10-10-2017

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.

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 © REUTERS 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

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)

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