Japan hopes to capture a substantial slice of the commercial satellite launch market with the H-2A rocket, but prospects are dim given tough global competition and stagnant demand, The Japan Times reported Dec. 28.
The recent launch of an intelligence-gathering satellite pushed the H-2A over the threshold for world-class reliability with a 95 percent success rate in 20 launches, the report said. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., which took over the H-2A project starting with the 13th launch, hopes more foreign customers will choose the Japanese rocket for commercial satellite launches. But Japan must compete with well-entrenched providers in Europe and Russia as well as emerging space powers such as China and India.
One potential customer base for Mitsubishi Heavy is the developing world. “We want to win package deals covering the production, the launch and the operation of satellites, as well as training of personnel,” said Shoichiro Asada, who heads the company’s aerospace division.
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