It was a typical year for Japan with four successful launches and no failures. Japan has averaged 3.8 launches annually over the past decade. Last year also saw a Japanese astronaut become the first foreigner to fly aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft.
SpaceX dominated, China surged and Russia had another clean sheet as American astronauts flew from U.S. soil again in a year of firsts.
First in a series
by Douglas Messier Managing Editor
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was a very busy launch year with a number of firsts in both human and robotic exploration. A total of 114 orbital launches were attempted, with 104 successes and 10 failures. It was the same number of launches that were conducted in 2018, with that year seeing 111 successes, two failures and one partial failure.
NASA’s TechEdSat series of technology demonstrations aims to bring small payloads back to Earth or to the surface of Mars – while pushing the state of the art in a variety of CubeSat technologies and experiments.
MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — TechEdSat is a series of collaborative projects and missions that pairs college and university students with NASA researchers to evaluate new technologies for use in small satellites, or CubeSats. Students do the hands-on work – designing, building, and testing CubeSat spacecraft systems and analyzing the results – for each flight mission, under mentorship of engineers at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley.
ARLINGTON, Va. (U.S. Space Force PR) — The U.S. Space Force and Japan’s Office of National Space Policy signed an historic Memorandum of Understanding this week to launch two U.S. payloads on Japan’s Quasi Zenith Satellite System.
The Department of the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center is developing the payloads, which feature Space Domain Awareness optical sensors and will launch from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center in 2023 and 2024, respectively. Enhancing Space Domain Awareness is essential to protect the space operations of the U.S, Japan, and other partners. A secure, stable, and accessible space domain is critical to our national security, the health of our respective economies, and enables scientific endeavors which provide environmental benefits.
Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett hailed the agreement.
At 2:58 p.m. PDT today (Sunday, July 19), the United Arab Emirates (UAE) successfully launched an interplanetary probe — the first by any country in the Arab world — thanks, in part, to science collaboration, training and instrument components provided by the University of California, Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory (SSL).
TEMPE, Ariz. (ASU PR) — The Emirates Mars Mission, the first interplanetary exploration undertaken by an Arab nation, is expected to lift off in July (exact launch date depends on weather conditions) on an H-IIA rocket from Tanegashima, Japan, and arrive at Mars in February 2021, where it will spend two years orbiting the red planet gathering crucial science data.
TOKYO (JAXA PR) — At exactly 31 minutes and 00 seconds past 2 o’clock on the morning of May 21, 2020, the H-II Transfer Vehicle known as “KOUNOTORI9” (HTV9), the cargo transporter to the International Space Station (ISS), was launched aboard H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 9 (H-IIB F9) from the JAXA Tanegashima Space Center.
The H-IIB F9 flight proceeded nominally. Approximately 15 minutes and 7 seconds after launch, the payload separated from the launch vehicle as planned.
JAXA expresses its sincere appreciation for the support provided by all involved.
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA will broadcast the launch of a Japanese cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station beginning at 1 p.m. EDT Wednesday, May 20, live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries are scheduled to launch the unpiloted H-II Transport Vehicle-9 (HTV-9) on a Japanese H-IIB rocket at 1:30 p.m. (2:30 a.m. Thursday, May 21, Japan time) from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan.
Japan continues to make progress toward the first flight of its new H3 launch vehicle with a successful test firing of the booster’s LE-9 first-stage engine on April 30.
JAXA reports that the engine fired for the planned duration of 240 seconds (4 minutes) at the space agency’s Tanegashima Space Center. It was the seventh hot fire of the new engine, which is powered by liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen.
KOGOSHIMA SPACE CENTER, Japan (JAXA PR) — The development of JAXA’s new rocket, the H3 Launch Vehicle, is steadily advancing toward the first launch in FY2020. Here at the Tanegashima Space Center (TNSC), renovation and construction work is also under way to prepare the launch facilities for the H3 rocket.
Its highlights are a new Movable Launcher (ML) and its transporters Dollies. The ML is a platform on which parts transported from factories are assembled into a rocket in the Vehicle Assemble Building. Before launch, a rocket on the ML is carried by the Dollies to the launch pad.
H-II Transfer Vehicle KOUNOTORI8, the cargo transporter to the International Space Station (ISS), will launch aboard the H-IIB Vehicle No. 8 from JAXA Tanegashima Space Center as follows:
Date: Wednesday, September 11, 2019 Time: 6:33 a.m. JST (2133 GMT /5:33 p.m. EDT Tuesday, September 10) Reserved Launch Period: September 12 through October 31, 2019 Arrival at ISS: Evening of September 14, 2019
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) cargo ship H-II Transfer Vehicle-8(HTV-8) is scheduled to lift off Sept. 10 at 5:33 p.m. EDT (6:33 a.m. Japan Standard Time) to the International Space Station from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center, 10 years after JAXA launched its first HTV mission. HTV-8 arrives at the space station on Sept. 14.
Here are details about some of the scientific investigations and facilities heading to the orbiting lab on HTV-8.