Publish dateSunday 18 February 2024 - 16:06
Story Code : 286055
Third time lucky Japan launches next-gen rocket
Japan’s space agency toasted a successful blast-off for its new flagship rocket on Saturday, making it third time lucky after years of delays and two previous failed attempts.
Afghan Voice Agency (AVA)-Monitoring: The next-generation H3 has been mooted as a rival to SpaceX’s Falcon 9, and could one day deliver cargo to bases on the Moon. “I’ve been in the space industry for a long time, but I’ve never felt so happy before, and I’ve never felt so relieved,” said Hiroshi Namakwa, president of space agency JAXA.
The latest launch follows Japan’s successful landing last month of an unmanned probe on the Moon albeit at a wonky angle making it just the fifth country to land a craft on the lunar surface.
The H3 launched from the Tanegashima Space Center in southwestern Japan at 9:22 am. Cheers and applause could be heard from the JAXA control center after the agency’s live stream announced the H3’s engines had successfully burned, meaning the rocket had made it into orbit.
Developed jointly by JAXA and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the H3 is the successor to the H-IIA launch system, which debuted in 2001. Designed for “high flexibility, high reliability, and high cost performance”, the craft will “maintain Japan’s autonomous access to space”, JAXA says.
Unlike the reusable Falcon 9, the H3 is expendable, but scientists say the trial of its world-first technology is significant. “The H3 rocket has a unique and novel first-stage engine that delivers greater thrust compared to state-of-the-art rockets,” said Michele Trenti, director of the Melbourne Space Laboratory at the University of Melbourne. The H3 “has the potential to be the most cost-effective rocket”, making the exploration of the solar system more affordable. Its maiden launch has been beset by mishaps./Dawn news
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