JAXA Puts Off Launch of New H-3 Rocket until FY 2021

Science Society Technology

Tokyo, Sept. 11 (Jiji Press)--The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, said Friday that it will postpone the launch until fiscal 2021 of the new H-3 rocket, which is currently under development, due to problems with its main engine.

The H-3 rocket launch was initially scheduled for fiscal 2020, which will end next March.

The new rocket, the successor to the existing H-2A and H-2B rockets, has been jointly developed by JAXA, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. <7011> and others since fiscal 2014, with development costs totaling 190 billion yen.

The H-3 rocket will be equipped with two or three LE-9 first-stage engines. In May, 14 holes of up to 0.5 millimeter wide and 1 centimeter long were found on the inner walls of the newly developed engine's firing chamber after a firing test at the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan.

Furthermore, there were cracks in two turbine blades of a device that pumps liquefied hydrogen into the firing chamber.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press