Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

Japan launches world's smallest rocket

SS-520’s previous launch SS-520’s previous launch
Nellie Chapman | 07 February, 2018, 08:49

It is the agency's second attempt to launch this type of rocket.

JAXA attempted to launch the smallest rocket ever a year ago in January but the launch was a failure as the rocket failed to the orbit. The agency modified an SS-520 sounding rocket with an extra third stage in the nose cone to give the micro-satellite, a 3-kg (6.6-lb) TRICOM-1R, its final boost into orbit.

The Japan Times reported that the No. 5 vehicle of the SS-520 series carried a micro satellite, which weighed around 3 kgs.

The rocket with a height of 10 metres and 53 cm in diametre took off from Uchinoura Space Centre in Kagoshima prefecture and was aired live on YouTube.

According to JAXA documents, the SS-520-5 weighed almost 2.9 tons (2.6 metric tons) at launch, with almost 2.2 tons (2 metric tons) of that weight made up of pre-packed solid propellants. Competition has risen in the private sector making smaller and low cost satellites. The TRICOM-1R - a three-unit cubesat- was only 34.5 centimeters in diameter and was developed by the University of Tokyo. A JAXA spokesperson said in a statement, "The launch was aimed at verifying JAXA's technology used to launch small rockets made with commercially available components at lower cost amid growing global demand for micro satellites".

The rocket's payload, the TRICOM-1R, weighs 300 pounds, and is equipped with radios and imaging equipment. JAXA informed that the launch went smoothly and the rocket successfully deployed the TRICOM-1R satellite into orbit. Spaceflight now says, "According to JAXA documents, the SS-520-5 weighed almost 2.9 tons (2.6 metric tons) at launch, with almost 2.2 tons (2 metric tons) of that weight made up of pre-packed solid propellants".