The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Mitsubishi Industries have conducted the nation’s first orbital flight of 2023. The mission saw an H-IIA rocket carry the classified IGS-7 radar reconnaissance satellite into a Sun-synchronous orbit.
Liftoff occurred on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, at 01:49:20 UTC from Launch Area Y1 at the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan. The launch window lasted just 61 seconds, closing at 01:50:21 UTC.
The mission is the first of several planned orbital launches for Japan in 2023; however, that flight rate hinges not just on payload availability but on the successful introduction of the H3 rocket, currently slated for no earlier than February 12, 2023.