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Japan today successfully completed its first launch of 2018, placing an experimental radar satellite into orbit that was built under a new cost saving approach.
The ASNARO satellites are designed to be small, lightweight spacecraft with masses around 900-1,300 pounds (400-600 kilograms) with a common spacecraft bus largely built from commercial-off-the-shelf parts and interchangeable payload sections. This commonality is designed to reduce cost and simplify mission planning and preparation.
Epsilon itself is also designed under the same approach. Both are part of Japan’s effort to streamline its space industry to make it more competitive.
The launch standings: