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Aerospace & Defense Industries

Japan aims to fill Russian hole in launch market with new rocket

Wednesday test set for H3, touted as cheaper, safer, more powerful upgrade

The H3 rocket is Japan's hope for capturing a bigger slice of the commercials launch market. It is also slated to play a role in the construction of a new space station.    © JAXA

TOKYO -- On a tiny island 1,000 kilometers southwest of Tokyo, Japan's space industry is preparing to face a moment of truth: the maiden launch of a next-generation rocket.

Standing 63 meters tall and 5.2 meters in diameter, the H3 was developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), a government affiliate, with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries as the prime contractor. It is scheduled to lift off from the Tanegashima Space Center on Wednesday.

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