New JAXA Rocket: Meet the New Prime, Same as the Old Prime

jaxa_new_rocketTOKYO (JAXA PR) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) made an announcement to the private sector on February 27, 2014, to compare their proposals and select a prime contractor who can be responsible for launch and space transportation services for a newly developed flagship launch vehicle.

As a result, after carefully evaluated proposals including confirmation of application prerequisites and conformity with requirements, we have selected Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) as the prime contractor.

JAXA will begin developing the new national flagship launch vehicle in early Japan Fiscal Year 2014 in cooperation with a group of private companies led by MHI.


Mitsubishi Plans Animal Experiments on XCOR Lynx Flights


The latest edition of The Lurio Report has a story on Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ plans to conduct animal experiments aboard XCOR’s Lynx suborbital spacecraft:

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) In part two of my report on NSRC-2012, I mentioned that a speaker from MHI had discussed results of biological tests performed on parabolic aircraft flights (Vol. 7, No. 5).  He’d said that a suborbital reusable vehicle company was soon expected be engaged for research that included use of an animal experiment unit. This year, XCOR was cited as that company.

While MHI is has been engaged with biological experiments on the ISS, they want to take advantage of the low cost, high flight frequency and relatively low complexity of suborbital flight for new drug research.  The experimental unit is in development to carry and provide full environmental support for up to ten mice.  Its framework was shown during a fit check on the Lynx, where it would be located in the “Payload B” position, in place of the Lynx passenger seat.

MHI plans to set up an animal life sciences lab in Midland, Texas, possibly in the same facility where XCOR will be establishing its new corporate and research headquarters.

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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.

H-IIB Launch to Inaugurate New Era in Japanese Rocket Effort


Japan: Fly Me to the Moon

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.


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


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.