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The competition heats up: Japan’s unveiled its new Epsilon rocket yesterday, scheduled for its first launch next week.
Epsilon is a low-cost, high-performance, solid-fuel rocket co-developed by JAXA and IHI AEROSPACE Co.,Ltd. and designed to launch scientific satellites. Epsilon features the world’s first innovative launch system called “Mobile Launch Control” which allows for built-in checks to be conducted autonomously within the rocket’s system. This allows staff to focus on high-level monitoring, making overall performance very smooth. A spokesman joked that it is so easy to control that staff could monitor the rocket on their laptops while at Starbucks.
In the past Japan has not been very good at building cheap and efficient rockets. We shall see how this one does.