TOKYO, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Japan will build a backup satellite to take over if a malfunction occurs in a pair of radar satellites now under construction, officials said.
The backup satellite will probably be launched in 2014, and would give Japan three fully operable orbiting radar satellites, The Yomiuri Shimbun reported.
Japan's two intelligence-gathering satellites have broken down, and their replacements won't be orbited until 2011 and 2012, the report said.
Japan will save money by building the backup satellite using parts and technology from the two satellites now under construction, officials at the Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Center said.
The malfunctioning satellites were launched in 2003 and 2007, and have been unable to carry out monitoring functions at night.
Japan launched the now-disabled satellites for military reconnaissance following North Korea's test firing of a ballistic missile in 1998, the report said.
Japan's plan was to create a network of four intelligence-gathering satellites, two with radar devices able to photograph at night and through clouds, and two with optical photography technology to capture images during clear skies in the daytime.