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Countdown begins for Japan's first private rocket

Hokkaido-based Interstellar readies for July 29 launch

An illustration of Interstellar's test rocket (Courtesy of Interstellar Technologies)

TOKYO -- Interstellar Technologies will attempt to launch a privately developed rocket into space on July 29, aiming to become the first Japanese company to do so successfully.

The venture announced plans Thursday to launch its first rocket, the Momo, from the northern island of Hokkaido in a window that starts at 10:20 a.m. JST. The company was founded in 2013 by Takafumi Horie, the maverick entrepreneur known for an accounting scandal during his time as president of internet portal operator Livedoor.

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