Japan to Launch 4 Satellites Friday, 1 for South Korea

TOKYO (AP) — Japan plans to launch four satellites into space this week, including a South Korean one that is its first payload for a foreign customer.

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Spokesman Reiichi Tanaka at Japan’s space agency said Tuesday the HII-A rocket carrying the satellites will launch Friday from a remote pad in southwestern Japan.

Japan is hoping to compete with the U.S., Russia, Europe and others as a launch vehicle provider.

The rocket’s primary payload is Japan’s “Shizuku” satellite to monitor global water circulation and climate change. Two smaller satellites also are Japanese-developed.

The multipurpose KOMPSAT-3 is supplied by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute. It will monitor the environment, ocean and agriculture.