Japan enters commercial space race

May 16, 2012
Japan's H-IIA rocket lifts off from the launch pad at the Tanegashima space centre in 2011. Japan will put a commercial satellite into space on Friday, officials said, in its first foray into the European- and Russian-dominated world of contract launches.

Japan will put a commercial satellite into space on Friday, officials said, in its first foray into the European- and Russian-dominated world of contract launches.

The H-IIA rocket, which was developed by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and has been launched 20 times since 2001, will carry a South Korean payload, a JAXA official said.

The satellite, the KOMPSAT-3, was developed by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute of South Korea to carry out , officials said.

The rocket has been operated by (MHI) since its 2007 privatisation, JAXA spokesman Masashi Okada said.

Its last six launches were Japanese government-related missions.

"With the success of this commercial launch, we hope to build customers' trust and get the next order, entering a business dominated by European Ariane and Russian Platon rockets," said MHI's Kenichi Nakamura.

The South Korean institute paid several billions of yen (tens of millions of dollars), "the cheapest price in an international auction", the Sankei Shimbun reported, citing the institute. MHI declined to confirm the report.

The rocket is scheduled to lift off at 1:39 am on Friday (1639 GMT Thursday) from JAXA's Tanegashima Space Center on Tanegashima Island in western Japan.

The rocket will also carry JAXA's Shizuku satellite, which will be used to monitor the circulation of global , officials said.

European operator Arianespace successfully launched its with a Japanese and a Vietnamese satellite onboard from French Guiana on Tuesday.

The 4.5-tonne Japanese satellite, replace an existing orbiter, will provide television services for the whole of the country, as well as for Southeast Asia.

The smaller Vietnamese version will provide television, radio and telephone services in Vietnam.

Explore further: Japan launches satellite for better GPS coverage (Update)

Related Stories

Ariane rocket launches two Asian satellites

May 16, 2012

An Ariane 5 rocket successfully launched two Asian telecoms satellites into orbit from the Kourou space centre in French Guiana, European operator Arianespace announced.

Japan launches new spy satellite

September 23, 2011

Japan launched a new spy satellite into orbit Friday, officials said, in its latest effort to beef up surveillance against the threat of North Korean missiles.

Japan launches new spy satellite

December 12, 2011

Japan launched a new spy satellite into orbit on Monday amid concerns over North Korea's missile programme and to monitor natural disasters in the region, officials said.

Bad weather postpones Japan rocket launch

May 18, 2010

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.

Recommended for you

NASA telescope studies quirky comet 45P

November 22, 2017

When comet 45P zipped past Earth early in 2017, researchers observing from NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility, or IRTF, in Hawai'i gave the long-time trekker a thorough astronomical checkup. The results help fill in crucial ...

Cassini image mosaic: A farewell to Saturn

November 21, 2017

In a fitting farewell to the planet that had been its home for over 13 years, the Cassini spacecraft took one last, lingering look at Saturn and its splendid rings during the final leg of its journey and snapped a series ...

Uncovering the origins of galaxies' halos

November 21, 2017

Using the Subaru Telescope atop Maunakea, researchers have identified 11 dwarf galaxies and two star-containing halos in the outer region of a large spiral galaxy 25 million light-years away from Earth. The findings, published ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (2) May 16, 2012
"European- and Russian-dominated world of contract launches."

What? Why can't Uncle Sam get it up?

Space belongs to the Socialists.

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.