Japan launches its largest satellite into space

Japan's space agency on Monday launched a domestically developed H2-A rocket carrying the country's largest satellite after poor weather caused a two-day delay.

The Kiku No. 8 satellite separated successfully from the rocket about 30 minutes into the flight, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency spokesman Kiyotaka Yashido said.

The satellite was scheduled to deploy its solar panels later in the day and then begin a series of maneuvers over the coming week that, if all goes according to plan, should put it into its planned orbit next Tuesday morning, he said.

It will be used for telecommunications and to conduct sensitive measurements of time, calibrating a high-precision clock onboard with similar clocks on the ground, according to the agency.

The launch was originally scheduled for Saturday. The agency decided to delay it because of poor weather conditions that raised concerns of a possible lightning strike in the flight's early stages, the AP reports.

The H2-A rocket is the 11th launched by Japan and the first since Tokyo launched its third intelligence-gathering satellite in September.

The H2-A is the workhorse of Japan's space program.

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