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Japan's Military Launches First Communications Satellite

H-IIA rocket carrying Japan's first military communications satellite lifts off from Tanegashima space port on Tanegashima Island, southern Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo, Jan. 24, 2017.

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

The Kirameki-2 satellite lifted off Tuesday on board an H-2A rocket from the Tanegashima 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.