Asia

Japan's military launches first communications satellite

  • Japan’s H-2A rocket lifts off carrying Defense Ministry's first communications satellite Kirameki-2 from the Tanegashima Space Center in Minamitane on Tanegashima Island, southern Japan, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017. (Yu Nakajima/Kyodo News via AP)

    Japan’s H-2A rocket lifts off carrying Defense Ministry's first communications satellite Kirameki-2 from the Tanegashima Space Center in Minamitane on Tanegashima Island, southern Japan, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017. (Yu Nakajima/Kyodo News via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Japan’s H-2A rocket lifts off carrying Defense Ministry's first communications satellite Kirameki-2 from the Tanegashima Space Center in Minamitane on Tanegashima Island, southern Japan, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017. (Yu Nakajima/Kyodo News via AP)

    Japan’s H-2A rocket lifts off carrying Defense Ministry's first communications satellite Kirameki-2 from the Tanegashima Space Center in Minamitane on Tanegashima Island, southern Japan, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017. (Yu Nakajima/Kyodo News via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Japan’s H-2A rocket carrying Defense Ministry's first communications satellite Kirameki-2 goes up goes up after its launch from the Tanegashima Space Center in Minamitane on Tanegashima Island, southern Japan, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017. (Yu Nakajima/Kyodo News via AP)

    Japan’s H-2A rocket carrying Defense Ministry's first communications satellite Kirameki-2 goes up goes up after its launch from the Tanegashima Space Center in Minamitane on Tanegashima Island, southern Japan, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017. (Yu Nakajima/Kyodo News via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Japan's Defense Ministry has launched its first communications satellite.

The Kirameki-2 (kee-RAH-meh-kee 2) satellite lifted off Tuesday on board an H-2A rocket from the Tanegashima (tah-neh-GAH-shee-mah) Space Center in southern Japan.

The ministry says it is the first of three satellites that will replace three civilian ones currently used by Japan's military. The new satellites will allow military units to communicate on a high-speed and high-capacity network.

The Kirameki-1 was supposed to be launched in July 2016, but was damaged during transport to a launch pad in French Guiana. It is undergoing repair and scheduled for launch between March and September 2018.