Japan launches fourth satellite for high-precision GPS


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

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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