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Aerospace & Defense

Japan's IHI builds small satellite engine at a third of rivals' price

3D printers and stainless steel propel Japanese company's push into space

The Japanese government wants to double the size of the country's space industry by the early 2030s. (Photo courtesy of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency)

TOKYO -- Japanese heavy machinery maker IHI has developed a satellite engine that will sell for one-third of the competition's prices, in hopes of tapping growing demand for low-cost space launches for GPS-based services, particularly among startups.

The company aims to commercialize the engine, designed for smaller satellites of around 150 kg often used in communications and weather forecasting, by 2022. The new engine is expected to be priced at around 30 million yen ($284,000).

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