TOKYO, Mar 4 (NNN-NHK) – Japan is planning the maiden launch of its H3 rocket on Monday next week, following a number of false starts, sources with knowledge of the matter said, yesterday. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said, the inaugural flight of the H3 rocket could take place from Monday until Friday.
Current plans are for the rocket to blast off from the Tanegashima Space Centre launch site, in Kagoshima Prefecture, south-western Japan, JAXA said. The launch of the H3 rocket, a successor to Japan’s previous mainstay launch vehicle H2A rocket, has been delayed a number of times for multiple system glitches and bad weather.
On Feb 17, JAXA said, it scrapped the launch, after an electrical current from the airframe’s battery to its main engine’s control unit was cut for several seconds.
The rocket, jointly developed by JAXA and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, in 2014, with costs topping 200 billion yen (1.46 billion U.S. dollars), is set to put an earth observation satellite into orbit.
The DAICHI-3 satellite will purportedly be used to assist in disaster management.
The new rocket can carry a payload roughly 30 percent heavier than its predecessor, with launches estimated to cost 50 percent less.