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Japan’s Next-Generation Rocket H3 Carries on Engine Combustion Test - the First Launch is Planned in 2020

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency(JAXA)carries on engine “LE-9” combustion test of the developing Next-Generation Rocket H3 in Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture on 25th of June. The engine roared and spewed flame and white steam. The test lasted about 3 minutes 40 seconds, close to the scheduled time. A researcher said: “Useful data are obtained. We will validate the result.”

Kyodo News Agency reported on June 26 that the H3 is a successor to such current main rockets as H2A, which carries intelligence-gathering satellites and quasi-zenith satellites. It is planned to launch the first rocket of this new series in 2020.

The first stage of H3 is powered by two or three LE-9 engines. The propulsion force is obtained by igniting a large amount of hydrogen ejection. Its power is about 1.4 times that of the main engine of H2A.

The H3 simplified previous structure, with a minimum price of about 5 billion yen (about 300 million RMB), half of the price of H2A. It is believed to pose a challenge to the international satellite launch market. However, companies such as Space X, an American company that reuses rockets, are also ramping up their low-price advantage. It is not sure whether more orders can be obtained by H3.

JAXA is pushing ahead its plan to launch detectors by using H3 to Phobos and Deimos, the satellites of Mars in 2024.