Tag Archives: Epsilon

Japan to the moon!

The competition heats up: Japan’s space agency has announced plans to send an unmanned lander to the Moon, as early as 2018, as part of a longer range plan to explore Mars.

They also intend to use their new Epsilon rocket to launch it.

Gee, I wonder if the successful efforts of India and China to send probes to both the Moon and Mars had some influence on this decision.

Fixing the space junk problem of the new Japanese Epsilon rocket.

The Japanese space agency has now promised to make sure that future launches of its new low cost Epsilon rocket will not leave its upper stages in orbit as space junk.

Epsilon’s first flight, which was a success, left two large objects — the rocket’s upper stage and a smaller post-boost stage — in an orbit with a perigee of some 800 kilometers, meaning neither will fall into the atmosphere for a century or longer. In the meantime, they will add to the population of orbiting garbage that poses a threat to active satellites traversing this orbit.

Japan has signed international agreements requiring them to not create space junk, so on future launches they are promising to make sure the upper stages are released in low enough orbits that they will quickly decay and burn up in the atmosphere.

Having completed its investigation into its scrubbed launch two weeks ago, Japan’s space agency JAXA has announced a September 14 launch date for its new Epsilon rocket.

Having completed its investigation into its scrubbed launch two weeks ago, Japan’s space agency JAXA has announced a September 14 launch date for its new Epsilon rocket.

It appears a programming error might have caused the scrub of Japan’s new Epsilon rocket launch yesterday.

It appears a programming error might have caused the scrub of Japan’s new Epsilon rocket launch yesterday.

The computer controlling the launch from the ground detected an abnormality in the rocket position but it was later found to be normal. “It may have been an elementary, but not serious, problem, ” said one of the experts, quoted by the Kyodo News agency. An inspection after the canceled launch found no abnormality with the attitude sensors mounted on the rocket or with the computer feeding the data to the ground, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

This is a preliminary report, but sounds credible. The report also suggests that the Japanese are in no immediate hurry to launch but instead want to very carefully investigate the issue first. And as I said yesterday, this is really all good news for this new rocket.

The first launch of Japan’s new Epsilon rocket was scrubbed today at T-19 seconds.

The first launch of Japan’s new Epsilon rocket was scrubbed today at T-19 seconds.

The press releases are very unclear, which is typical for the Japanese. From my perspective, this scrub is hardly a disaster for a new rocket, and is in fact a good sign. Better for the rocket systems to recognize a problem and abort than for it to launch anyway and fail.

Japan has announced an August 22 launch date for its new Epsilon rocket.

The competition heats up: Japan has announced an August 22 launch date for its new Epsilon rocket.

Key quote: “Epsilon replaces the M-V, a larger solid-fuel rocket that failed to attract sufficient customers to remain in production. M-V’s last launch was in 2002.” Competition rules!