Japanese Space Plan Outlines Creation of National Satellite Defense Program

[Satellite Today 04-30-09] The Japanese government is in a development phase to launch an early warning satellite that can detect missile launches by 2013 and increase the number of the country’s reconnaissance satellites from the current three to four, according to a national space plan released April 27 by Japanese government officials.
    The Japanese Strategic Headquarters for Space Policy finalized a five-year space policy which outlines the country’s first-ever space-based defense initiatives, according to government officials. The plan comes at an estimated cost of 500 billion yen ($5.1 billion) per satellite.
    The plan also augments the country’s commercial space program and aims to launch a total of 34 satellites between 2009 and 2013, including the launch of an unmanned lunar probe in 2020. 
    Japanese government officials said the course of the space plan was determined by North Korea’s launch of a long-range rocket in early April.

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