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    Why does it always rain on me?

    The skies over Kyushu are active today. A satellite went up:

    The Japan Aeronautics Exploration Agency announced that an astronomical X-ray satellite, launched from the Uchinoura Observatory in Kagoshima Prefecture, has successfully separated from its M5 Number 6 launch rocket. The satellite is called Suzaku (“the crimson sparrow”). It becomes Japan’s fifth astronomical X-ray satellite, succeeding the Asuka, which ended its observation in July 2000.

    Japanese rocket launches don’t always come off so hot these last few years; it’s nice that these last few have.

    Of course, it’s what’s coming down in Kyushu that’s the big story right now. Several prefectures there (Oita, Fukuoka, Kumamoto, and Nagasaki among them) are experiencing major flooding. The rainy-season rains weren’t coming, weren’t coming, weren’t coming–and now all the water appears to be there at once. One person is dead, two are missing, part of a road has collapsed, and there have been mudslides. It’s Atsushi’s part of the country, but he’s in the middle of a city where there doesn’t seem to be any flooding. (Not that that’s stopped me from getting on him about being careful when he goes outside.) Water is up to the second floor of some houses in the countryside, though.

    Like the Gulf Coast in the US, which is also gearing up to be pummeled by an early hurricane, southwestern Japan is still storm-weary from last year’s typhoon season, in which some luckless regions experienced wave after wave of torrential rains and battering winds. To friends in either place: stay safe.

    2 Responses to “Why does it always rain on me?”

    1. Toren says:

      That X-ray satellite was 1.7 tons, hmm? And a MIRV runs about 1.3 tons.

      I’m sure the dots were connected in the DPRK.

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      Is this the first satellite launch that shows Japan has the ability to launch something that hefty? I mean, it’s the third or fourth X-ray satellite–were the others lighter? (Or is what you’re saying that you think the DPRK will assume Japan actually just launched its own SDI-equivalent? Or not SDI, which was supposed to be air-to-air, right? But a weapons platform that could take out North Korean targets.)

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