Japan postponed space satellite launch

January 18, 2006

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency announced Wednesday it has postponed the launch of an advanced land observation satellite due to a malfunction.

The launch vehicle was supposed to place the satellite, which is equipped with several advanced land observation units, into orbit 430 miles above Earth.

The agency said the postponement of the launch, originally scheduled for Thursday morning from the Tanegashima Space Center on Kyushu Island, was "due to a malfunction found Tuesday in a part of the vehicle's onboard equipment."

News reports suggest the trouble was connected to one of the three data transmitters that send flight status and other vital information to the ground station. After the faulty part is replaced a new launch date will be fixed, the agency said.

Japan's official space development agency plans to launch a series of three large rockets in the coming months including the one just postponed.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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