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Technology

Japanese minirocket getting a second shot at life

Liftoff would come only months after failed first attempt

TOKYO -- Quickly dusting itself off from an unsuccessful maiden flight in January, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency plans to try launching a low-cost minirocket again this fiscal year.

"The market for small satellites is expanding around the world," JAXA President Naoki Okumura said in a regular monthly news conference Friday. "We would like to demonstrate our technology and make the miniature rocket available for private-sector satellite launches."

The telephone-pole-sized SS-520, developed with Canon Electronics, is touted as the world's smallest satellite launch vehicle. It holds down costs by employing consumer components, such as those used in mobile phones.

JAXA will carry out the launch after addressing such issues as wiring, the suspected cause of January's failure. Like last time, the rocket will carry a nanosatellite.

The unusually short gap between launches was made possible by support from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, as well as private-sector aid in funding and components.

(Nikkei)

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