JAXA to launch small rocket to put microsatellite into orbit

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, will set off a small three-stage rocket on Wednesday to bring a microsatellite into orbit in a test project aimed at promoting the space business in the country with inexpensive satellite-launching technologies.

The 9.5-meter SS-520-4 rocket, only one-fifth in length of an H-2A rocket, is based on the two-stage solid-fueled SS-520 model designed to lift observatory equipment to an altitude of about 1,000 kilometers. With one stage added, the SS-520-4 became one of the smallest rockets in the world capable of putting a satellite into orbit around the Earth.

The tiny satellite to be carried by the small rocket is the University of Tokyo’s TRICOM-1, which weighs about three kilograms. Costs to remodel the SS-520 rocket and develop the satellite to take pictures of the Earth and conduct communications experiments were cut by using commercial electronic parts. The project chiefly used ¥400 million provided by the industry ministry.

Unveiling the SS-520-4 rocket to the media on Monday, Hiroto Habu, associate professor at JAXA, said, “I really want to make the difficult project successful, because it should help expand the use of the space.”Speech

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