28 July 2017 News

Japan's first privately developed rocket launches tomorrow

IST sounding rocket. Image: Interstellar Technologies
IST sounding rocket. Image: Interstellar Technologies

Tomorrow will see the launch of Japan’s first privately developed rocket by company Interstellar Technologies.

The 10 metre, 1000 kilogram rocket is scheduled to blast off from a launch site in the town of Taiki, Hokkaido, northern Japan, in the morning of July 29, said the company.

Interstellar technologies was established in 1997 by a group of space enthusiasts with the intent to develop a compact and convenient rocket design and to eventually build a prototype rocket engine. Hopefully tomorrow that vision will hold fast for the company as it looks to make its mark on the industry.

This sentiment was echoed by Takahiro Inagawa, chief executive officer of Interstellar Technologies, who told a press conference in Tokyo that the launch will mark a "major milestone" in the shift from state-led space development.

The rocket, which is using ethanol as fuel, is expected to reach an altitude of 100 kilometres around four minutes after launch before making a nose-dive into the sea upon its return.

Interstellar technologies mission is to “change the economics of Space Launch Services, making it more economic to existing customers and accessible to entirely new markets,” and it aims to achieve this with a re-engineered and re-imagined rocket that provides the same levels of reliability, but at a lower cost.

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