The Japanese have a nice launch of a weather satellite.
A nearly four-ton satellite fitted with a modernized camera to collect more timely images of typhoons and severe weather bolted away from a seaside launch pad in southern Japan on Wednesday, riding an H-2A rocket on the way to an orbital perch more than 22,000 miles above Earth.
The Himawari 9 satellite, built by Mitsubishi Electric Corp. and owned by the Japan Meteorological Agency, will cover the Japanese islands and a swath of the Asia-Pacific stretching from India in the west, to Australia in the south, and to Hawaii in the east.
Meteorologists in Japan, Australia and other nations across the region will rely on Himawari 9 and the sister satellite Himawari 8 launched two years ago for weather imagery through at least the late 2020s.
The 7,700-pound (3,500-kilogram) satellite lifted off at 0620 GMT (2:20 a.m. EDT; 3:20 p.m. Japan Standard Time) Wednesday on top of a 17-story H-2A rocket from Tanegashima Island near the southern end of the Japanese island chain.