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12:16 PM, August 19, 2017
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Japan launches satellite for improved GPS system

Japan has launched third of its new quasi-zenith satellites on Saturday to improve the global positioning system (GPS) navigation services.

The launched third of its new quasi-zenith satellites is one of a constellation being put into orbit to improve the accuracy of available global positioning data, Kyodo News reported Saturday.

The Quazi Zenith Satellite System is a local analog of the US global positioning system, which consists of four satellites aiming to increase the reliability and accuracy of the three-dimensional satellite navigation up to 99.8 percent.

The launch, overseen by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, was initially scheduled for last week two times. However, both the times it was aborted. Once on August 11, the launch was postponed for the next day due to unfavourable weather conditions. Again the launch postponed to next day (August 12), but even that time it was canceled due to the risk of a possible helium leak in the rocket propulsion system.

The accuracy of the system will reduce the error in determining the location to a few centimeters, while currently it amounts to some 10 meters.

The first satellite of the system was launched in 2010, while the second was put into orbit in June 2017. The final satellite is expected to be launched in October.

The newly launched satellite will work with the first and second Michibiki satellites and complement the existing US satellite network that Japan and many other countries depend on.

Once in its final position, the third satellite will sit in a geostationary orbit with the government scheduled to launch the last satellite in October.

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