Japan launches new rocket
TOKYO (AP) — Japan has launched a new rocket it hopes will be a cheaper and more efficient way of sending satellites into space.
The three-stage Epsilon lifted off today from a space center on Japan’s southern main island of Kyushu, following a two-week postponement. An earlier launch last month was aborted 19 seconds before a planned liftoff due to a computer glitch.
The Epsilon is the first new rocket design for Japan since the H2A was introduced in 2001.
The H2A remains Japan’s primary rocket but officials hope the Epsilon will lead to improvements in the more costly H2A program. Japan hopes to be more competitive in the international rocket-launching business.
The rocket was to carry the SPRINT-A, the first space telescope designed to observe other planets.