Mitsubishi Heavy Industries launched an H-IIA rocket carrying the Japanese government's Information-Gathering Satellite "Optical-8", the company said in a post on social media X on Friday.

It was the 48th launch of Japan's flagship launch vehicle since 2001, bringing the success rate of the rocket, developed by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), to 97.92%.

Japan plans to retire H-IIA after two more launches and replace it with H3, but has been struggling with the transition after JAXA's first test launch failed in March last year. The H3's second test launch is slated for Feb. 15. (Reporting by Kantaro Komiya; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim)