Japan to make second launch attempt of world’s smallest orbital rocket

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JAXA, Japan’s space agency, has announced that it will make a second launch attempt in December of what would be the world’s smallest orbital rocket.

The rocket, measuring 10 meters long and 50 cm in diameter, will carry a “micro-mini” satellite weighing about 3 kg developed by the University of Tokyo to collect imagery of the Earth’s surface.

The launch scheduled for Dec. 25 will feature the fifth rocket in the SS-520 series. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is hoping small rockets made with commercially available components at low cost will help fuel the growing global demand for micro-mini satellites. JAXA used components found in home electronics and smartphones for the rocket, which is about the size of a utility pole.

The previous launch failed when vibrations during liftoff caused a short-circuit that cut off communications, forcing them to terminate the flight.



  • Captain E. Meritus

    The first successful orbital launch of a solid fueled Scout, was on February 16, 1961, (56 years ago) delivered Explorer 9, a 7-kg satellite.

    Recently, 88 Dove cubesats (5.8 kg each) from Planet Labs were launched on one rocket.

    Congrats to JAXA on this heroic undertaking. Awesome!

    Too bad, the JAXA launch path doesn’t fly over the short, fat boy’s country ;-)

  • wayne

    Captain E. Meritus–
    good stuff!

    >nice little video on the Scout Program-

    “Scout: The Unsung Hero of Space”

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