Mitsubishi Heavy Industries still expects to conduct the maiden flight of Japan’s H3 rocket this year, notwithstanding the coronavirus pandemic.
As Japan prepares to join NASA’s Artemis lunar program, the country’s largest rocket manufacturer says it could upgrade the H3 rocket debuting next year to deliver cargo to the moon as soon as 2025.
Seeking to double the number of launches it can conduct annually, Japan will add a second launch pad to the Tanegashima spaceport to support its next-generation H3 rocket.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the prime contractor for Japan’s next-generation launch vehicle, the H3, says it is on schedule for a first launch in 2020, and will soon learn if the cost-cutting efforts pursued over the past three years will meet the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s goal of halving launch prices compared to the H-2A.
A Japanese H-2A rocket launched the Himawari-9 geostationary weather satellite Tuesday, marking the workhorse rocket’s second and final launch of 2016.