Japan Successfully Launches CubeSat With New SS-520 Booster

SS-520 booster (Credit: JAXA)

Japan successfully launched the SS-520 small satellite booster for the first time on Saturday.

JAXA reports the TRICOM-1R satellite successfully separated from the rocket 7 minutes 30 seconds after liftoff from the Uchinoura Space Center. The space agency says the 3U CubeSat, which carries an imaging camera and a store-and-forward communications system, is functioning normally.

It was the second launch attempt for the SS-520, which failed during its maiden flight in January 2017. The upgraded sounding rocket is equipped with a third stage that enables it to place a 3U CubeSat weighing 4 kg (8.8 lb.) into orbit.

Some Rocket Launches to Watch in 2018

The world’s most powerful booster is set to make a flight test sometime in January. If all goes well, 27 first stage engines will power the new booster off Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The three first stage cores will peel off and land for later reuse while the second stage continues into space.

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Japan Sets Date for Second SS-520 Microsatellite Launcher

JAXA SS520 sounding rocket. (Credit: JAXA)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will conduct a demonstration experiment of a microsatellite launch by SS-520 No. 5 as follows.

Experiment Period: December 25 (Mon.), 2017 thru January 31 (Wed.), 2018
Experiment Site: Uchinoura Space Center (Kimotsuki-cho, Kimotsuki-gun, Kagoshima Pref. Japan)
Scheduled Launch Date and Time: Between 10:00 to 14:15 on December 25 (Mon.) , 2017 (Japan Standard Time)
Description of Experiment: In response to the failure of SS-520 No. 4 experiment in January this year, a retry demonstration will be held for the development of rockets and satellites using civil engineering technology. The experiment has been approved by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, as part of its SERVIS project (Space Environment Reliability Verification Integrated System).

The SS-520 No. 5 is a three-stage rocket that is a modification of the SS-520 two-stage sounding rocket.

TRICOM-1R satellite (Credit: JAXA)

TRICOM-1R is a new generation satellite, that is produced based on the nanosatellites Hodoyoshi No. 3 and 4., which are approved by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry as part of its SERVIS project (Space Environment Reliability Verification Integrated System). The Experiment Team is planning to operate the TRICOM-1R for the following missions.

  • Store and Forward mission, where TRICOM-1R stores data transmitted from the ground and forwards data to the ground as the satellite positions above the ground control.
  • Take photographs of the Earth with its onboard camera.
  • Immediate observation mission which autonomously carries out observations of the Earth immediately after the launch and the insertation into the orbit, and sends the observation data to the ground upon the first communication with the ground station.