JAXA Privatizes H-IIB Launch Services

H-IIB rocket (Credit: Narita Masahiro)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — As a result of the successful launch of the H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 3, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries LTD. (MHI) have agreed to privatize the H-IIB launch service today according to the “Basic Agreement on Development and Launch Service of the H-IIB Launch Vehicle.”

With today’s agreement, JAXA will procure launch and transportation services from MHI when a payload is launched by the H-IIB Launch Vehicle. However, JAXA will continue to take responsibility of safety operations including overall safety confirmation, ground safety assurance, and flight safety and flight data acquisition in the same framework as when an H-IIA Launch Vehicle is launched.

Through the privatization, we can expect to secure Japan’s international competitiveness both for the H-IIA and H-IIB by reducing costs, improving quality and energizing activities via efficient and swift management methods of the private sector. Meanwhile, JAXA would like to engage in enhancing reliability as well as maintaining and operating Japan’s launch facilities for Japan’s flagship launch vehicle series in order to provide reliable launch means to broader demands.

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Forbes

Japan’s $155 million launch, scheduled for the southern Tanegashima spaceport in the wee hours of September 11, is intended to showcase the new rocket that JAXA and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries spent the last five years building. It’s also likely to inject a new dimension into Asia’s ongoing rocket race, the latest salvo of which was South Korea’s planned satellite launch this week. Seoul’s hopes were first decried by Pyongyang, which saw its own recent rocket launch meet with U.N. sanctions. But technical glitches scrubbed the South Korean launch.

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JAXA Reschedules H-IIB Test Firing for April 1 (No Fooling)

JAXA PRESS RELEASE

The First Captive Firing Test for the First Stage Flight Model Tank for the H-IIB Launch Vehicle

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. postponed the first captive firing test (CFT) on March 27, 2009 (all times and dates are Japan Standard Time) at the Tanegashima Space Center due to an abnormal phenomenon in the coolant supply. Abnormal phenomenon: Coolant, which is supposed to pour and sprinkle for protecting the facilities and surrounding area when the launch vehicle engine is fired, did not pour and sprinkle.

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