50th Anniversary Event Held for Japan Tanegashima Space Center

Science Society Technology

Minamitane, Kagoshima Pref., Nov. 24 (Jiji Press)--A ceremony was held on Saturday to mark the 50 years since the first rocket was launched from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan, in September 1968.

The ceremony in the Kagoshima town of Minamitane, which hosts the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's space center, was attended by JAXA President Hiroshi Yamakawa, astronaut Kimiya Yui and other agency officials as well as local residents.

"My next dream is to travel from Tanegashima to space aboard a Japan-made manned rocket," Yui, 48, said in his commemorative speech. "I want to put aboard Tanegashima people who supported us, to let them look at Earth from space."

Construction work for the space center started on the Kagoshima island of Tanegashima in 1966, before Okinawa returned to Japan from the postwar U.S. occupation in 1972.

Tanegashima was considered the most suitable location for the space center at that time because it was relatively close to the equator and there was no land east of the island.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press