Tag Archives: Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi’s H-2A rocket launches Japanese GPS satellite

Capitalism in space: Mitsubishi’s H-2A rocket today successfully launched Japan’s Michibiki 4 GPS satellite.

So far that is three launches today alone. And if all goes right, SpaceX will do another launch two days from now, putting it back in a tie with Russia for most launches in 2017 at 15.

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Mitsubishi wins launch contract from Inmarsat

Capitalism in space: Mitsubishi has been awarded a commercial launch contract from Inmarsat.

Recent Inmarsat satellites have launched on Proton, Falcon 9, and Ariane 5 rockets operated by International Launch Services, SpaceX and Arianespace. MHI [Mitsubishi Heavy Industries] has positioned the H-2A as a secondary player in the global launch market, and the Inmarsat 6 F1 contract gives the Japanese company its second commercial telecom launch deal after the Canadian-owned Telstar 12 Vantage satellite lifted off from Tanegashima in November 2015.

Japan has made noises about shifting control of its launch industry from its space agency JAXA to the private sector. This new contract between Mitsubishi and Inmarsat suggests that they are following through with that shift. However, though no specific price was mentioned in the article, the quote below indicates that Mitsubishi will have a big hill to climb to become competitive.

“The reason why we got the launch order from Inmarsat, I think, was not, of course, the cost-competitiveness of the H-2A launch vehicle, but I think our launch record is very good — 35 consecutive successes, high reliability — and another is on-time launch,” [Ko Ogasawara, Mitsubishi vice president] said in remarks last week at Euroconsult’s World Satellite Business Week conference in Paris. “We keep our schedule, and I think they put a high value on that.”

Mitsubishi’s next generation rocket, the H3, is being targeted for a launch price of $50 million, half of what the H-2A charges and more competitive in today’s market.

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Japan’s H-2A rocket, built by Mitsubishi, has won its first commercial contract.

The competition heats up: Japan’s H-2A rocket, built by Mitsubishi, has won its first commercial contract.

This is a surprise, as Japan has tried for years to sell the H-2A to commercial satellite carriers, with no success. That they have finally succeeded suggests to me that the demand for launch services is increasing, and there is room for more companies to provide the service.

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