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Aerospace & Defense Industries

Failed H3 launch puts Japan on back foot in global rocket race

Cheaper vehicle crucial in battle with SpaceX, others for satellite launches

The control center instructed Japan's H3 rocket to self-destruct 10 minutes after the launch in the morning on March 7.   © Kyodo

MINAMITANE, Japan -- The failure of Japan's H3 rocket on Tuesday in what was supposed to be its maiden launch marks a setback for plans to develop the country's space industry, to set up its own satellite navigation system and more.

Having an inexpensive, reliable launch vehicle is vital to the government's goal of doubling the industry's scale by the early 2030s. Data from the Cabinet Office and other sources puts its current size at about 1.2 trillion yen ($8.75 billion), including satellites, rockets and other equipment, along with related areas such as applications for satellite data.

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