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Japan's first private rocket nears the launch pad

Hokkaido-based Interstellar eyes January rocket test

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

TOKYO A startup founded by maverick Japanese entrepreneur Takafumi Horie is poised to launch a test rocket as early as January. If successful, it will be Japan's first private rocket to reach an altitude of 100km.

Interstellar Technologies, based in the country's northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido, aims to launch a compact satellite into orbit by 2020, and will use the data from the upcoming test flight to make technical improvements to its rockets.

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