Bad weather postpones Japan rocket launch

May 18, 2010
File photo shows a Japanese space rocket at the Tanegashima Space Centre in Kagoshima prefecture. Japan on Tuesday postponed the launch of a rocket due to deploy an experimental "space yacht" propelled by solar particles because of bad weather at the launch site, officials said.

Japan on Tuesday postponed the launch of a rocket due to deploy a Venus probe and an experimental "space yacht" propelled by solar particles, because of bad weather at the launch site.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) decided on the delay six minutes before the scheduled launch of the H-IIA rocket, set for 6:44 am (2144 GMT Monday), as weather worsened at the Tanegashima space centre in southern Japan.

"There is a risk of thunderstorms," a JAXA official said.

The rocket was to blast off with "space yacht" Ikaros -- an acronym for Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation of the Sun -- which is propelled by the pressure of sunlight particles bouncing off its sail.

JAXA rescheduled the launch for 6:58 am Friday (2158 GMT Thursday).

Ikaros, which has cost 1.5 billion yen (16 million dollars) to develop, will be the first use of the technology in deep space. Past experiments have been limited to unfolding its sail in orbit around the Earth.

The flexible sail, thinner than a human hair, is also equipped with a thin film of solar cells to generate electricity to create "a hybrid technology of electricity and pressure", according to JAXA.

The technology could enable space travel without fuel as long as there is sunlight, its developers say.

The name of the spacecraft alludes to Icarus, the figure from Greek mythology who flew too close to the sun and fell into the sea.

The same rocket was also due to launch Japan's first satellite bound for Venus, called the Akatsuki, or PLANET-C, which will work closely with Venus Express, a satellite sent earlier by the European Space Agency.

Explore further: Start of dwarf planet mission delayed after small mix-up

Related Stories

Japan postpones rocket launch

Feb 21, 2006

The launch of a Japanese rocket carrying an infrared satellite has been postponed from Tuesday to Wednesday morning due to bad weather.

Japan postponed space satellite launch

Jan 18, 2006

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency announced Wednesday it has postponed the launch of an advanced land observation satellite due to a malfunction.

Japan sends first cargo spacecraft to ISS

Sep 10, 2009

Japan early Friday launched its first cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station, aiming for a share of space transport after the retirement of the US space shuttle fleet next year.

Recommended for you

Can sound help us detect 'earthquakes' on Venus?

Apr 23, 2015

Detecting an "earthquake" on Venus would seem to be an impossible task. The planet's surface is a hostile zone of crushing pressure and scorching temperatures—about 874 degrees F, hot enough to melt lead—that ...

Titan's atmosphere useful in study of hazy exoplanets

Apr 23, 2015

With more than a thousand confirmed planets outside of our solar system, astronomers are attempting to identify the atmospheres of these distant bodies to determine if they could possibly host life.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.