Japan plans to resume the use of its H-2A rocket and launch a new satellite for weather observation as early as in November to replace an aging satellite.
According to Japan Space Activities Commission, Japanese experts have almost completed investigations on a failed launch last year. The commission will complete a report Monday on the cause of the failed launch last November of the domestically built H-2A rocket that was going to place into orbit two spy satellites. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has told the Japan Meteorological Agency it is aiming for a launch of the new multifunctional transport satellite in November or December, the commission said. The multifunctional satellite will support weather observation and air traffic control over vast areas of Asia and the Pacific and is expected to begin operation about two months after the launch, it said.
Japan has been relying on the US satellite GOES-9 since May last year to provide visual images for weather forecasts since it shut down the Himawari (sunflower) 5 satellite, which had developed imaging problems as its five-year service life expired. The commission has determined that the rocket launch failure last November was caused by a hole in a booster nozzle in the H-2Arocket.
It will conclude in Monday’s report that changes in the booster design, such as the shape of the nozzle, will be necessary in order to resume launches. The rocket was carrying two spy satellites Nov. 29 when the ground crew had to deliberately destroy the launch vehicle shortly after lift off because one of the two boosters failed to disengage after burning off its fuel.