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Business trends

Japanese companies fire up small-rocket missions

Businesses hone their technology as approval of commercial launches nears

The SS-520 minirocket failed after liftoff in its first launch attempt in January 2017. (Photo: Courtesy of JAXA)

TOKYO -- A number of Japanese companies have been trying, so far unsuccessfully, to get commercial launches of small rockets off the ground. But they have not given up.

Canon Electronics and Interstellar Technologies both failed in their first attempt to launch a small rocket. Having learned from the missteps, they are set to try again soon. If they succeed before the full enactment in November of a law governing the commercial use of space in Japan, their chances of turning their launch businesses into moneymakers will improve significantly.

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