Japan to launch maiden H3 rocket next week
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 on Friday.
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 Center launch site in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern 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 February 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 (US$1.46 billion), 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.