JAXA puts high-speed satellite Kizuna in orbit

The Associated Press

JAXA said Saturday that it launched a communications satellite capable of high-speed data transmission that could allow for virtual, long-distance medical care.

The satellite, named Kizuna, which means “bond” in Japanese, was launched by an H-IIA rocket that lifted off from Tanegashima Island at 5:55 p.m., according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s live Internet broadcast.

The launch was initially postponed by 1 1/2 hours due strong winds and an unauthorized ship that entered restricted waters near the space center.

Kizuna, developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and JAXA, is designed to transfer data at a rate of up to 1.2 gigabit per second, which will enable more affordable access to information across Japan and in other parts of the Asia-Pacific region.

The satellite, equipped with two large multibeam antennas — one for Japan and its vicinity, the other for Southeast Asia — was expected to separate from the rocket about 28 minutes after liftoff at an altitude of 283 km.