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Australia to help Japan with spy satellite launch.

SYDNEY, Oct. 16 Kyodo

Australia will help Japan put four spy satellites in orbit by building two satellite ground stations in Western Australia, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said Tuesday.

The ground stations will be built at the Perth International Telecommunications Center under a deal between Japan's National Space Development Agency and Xantic, a joint-venture partner with Australia's national telecommunications provider Telstra.

''The ground stations will communicate with six Japanese satellites, two of which will have a scientific, research, and commercial function, while the other four are information-gathering satellites,'' Downer said in a statement.

A spokesman for Downer said the four information-gathering satellites will be focused on unspecified ''surveillance and intelligence functions''.

The first of the satellites is to be launched in 2003.

One of the ground stations will support the two scientific, research and commercial satellites, while the second will perform a safety function at the time of the launch and positioning into orbit of the information-gathering satellites and will be dismantled once they are in orbit.

Downer said the arrangement was a practical contribution to Australia's relationship with Japan.

''Our hosting of the ground stations will further strengthen the economic, political and security aspects of our relationship,'' he said.
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Date:Oct 22, 2001
Words:200
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