Japan launches satellite for better GPS system


TOKYO: Japan on Saturday launched the third satellite in its effort to build a homegrown geolocation system aimed at improving the accuracy of car navigation systems and smart phone maps to mere centimeters. An H-IIA rocket blasted off at about 2:30 p.m. (0530 GMT) from the Tanegashima space center in southern Japan, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The rocket successfully released the “Michibiki” No.3 satellite about 30 minutes after launching. The launch was initially scheduled last week but was postponed due to a technical glitch. Satellite geolocation systems, initially designed for the US military, now power countless civilian applications, from car navigation to internet browsing on mobile phones. Japan relies on the US-operated Global Positioning System (GPS). Saturday’s launch was part of a broader plan to build a domestic version with four satellites focusing on the country and wider region.



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