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Aerospace & Defense Industries

Channeling Elon Musk, Japan gears up for private rocket space race

IHI Aerospace eyes satellite launches for Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia

The Epsilon-5 rocket lifts off from Uchinoura Space Center in the southwestern Japan on Nov. 9. (Photo by Kyodo via Reuters)

TOKYO -- Japan's successful launch of a rocket into orbit Tuesday paves the way for the country to fully enter private-sector launch services, as IHI Aerospace moves ahead to snag orders from Southeast Asia.

The solid-fuel Epsilon lifted off at 9:55 a.m. from the Uchinoura Space Center located in Kagoshima Prefecture on the southern tip of Kyushu. Tuesday marked the fifth straight successful launch of the rocket since its first in 2013. The fourth launch in 2019 carried seven small satellites into orbit, while the latest carried nine.

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