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Aerospace & Defense Industries

LNG-powered rocket offers boost to Japan's private space industry

Interstellar targets cheaper, greener fuel to lift private sector's role

Interstellar Technologies aims to deploy the Zero, a satellite launch vehicle to be powered by natural gas, in 2023. (Image provided by Interstellar Technologies)

TOKYO/SAPPORO, Japan -- The rocket engine roared to life with a burst of bright orange flame, firing at 70% of full power for five seconds in a test that featured fuel used to power much of the planet but not harnessed to reach outer space: liquefied natural gas.

Interstellar Technologies, a small Japanese rocket startup, conducted this static firing parallel to the ground in mid-March at its site on Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido.

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