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Business trends

Japan rocket launch gives crucial lift to private space business

Epsilon-4 vehicle provides less costly tech to show future customers

The Epsilon-4 rocket takes off from the Uchinoura Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, in southern Japan. (Photo by Masamichi Hoshi)
The Epsilon-4 rocket takes off from the Uchinoura Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, in southern Japan. (Photo by Masamichi Hoshi)

TOKYO -- Japan's successful liftoff of a more price-competitive rocket Friday carries the country into a new stage of private-sector space development, an industry that has remained mostly grounded due to prohibitive costs.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, launched the solid-fuel Epsilon-4 from the Uchinoura Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture. The vehicle carried seven miniature satellites, which all released from the rocket within 70 minutes after the morning liftoff.

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