H-2A No. 36 blasts off carrying the Quasi-Zenith Satellite Michibiki No. 4 at Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture on the morning of Oct. 10. (Video taken by Takufumi Yoshida and Takahiro Kumakura)

TANEGASHIMA ISLAND, Kagoshima Prefecture--An H-2A rocket carrying a satellite for a new system to improve the accuracy of positioning readings in Japanese cities successfully lifted off from Tanegashima Space Center here on Oct. 10.

H-2A No. 36 blasted off at 7:01 a.m., and placed its payload, the Quasi-Zenith Satellite Michibiki No. 4, into orbit around 28 minutes later.

The government is developing a Japanese GPS system that could provide improved positioning readings with a higher degree of accuracy.

The Michibiki No. 4 is the third quasi-zenith satellite, which orbits almost directly above Japan for eight hours a day.

The successful launch means that four Michibiki satellites are in orbit, including No. 3 launched in August this year, which is in a geostationary rather than a quasi-zenith orbit.

All are expected to work in combination to provide a full-scale Japanese GPS system operating on a 24-hour basis from fiscal 2018.

The Michibiki satellites' signal will complement the U.S. GPS satellites currently orbiting the Earth. The collaborative operation with the U.S. GPS satellite navigation network can lessen the error of positioning information, from around 10 meters to only a few centimeters.

The launch of the H-2A rocket marked the 36th consecutive successful launch including its heavier version, the H2B system.

(This article was written by Takufumi Yoshida and Seiji Tanaka.)