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Japanese H-2A rocket carries military radar satellite into orbit

A H-2A medium launch vehicle has launched a radar reconnaissance satellite, IGS-5, for the Japanese government. The mission lifted off from the Yoshinobu Launch Complex Pad 1, part of the Tanegashima Space Center, at 0120 GMT on 17 March, and

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SS-520 rocket gets second chance after investigation finds short circuit cause of first orbital launch failure

An investigation has discovered the reason why the first orbital attempt of Japan’s dedicated SS-520-4 cubesat launch vehicle ended in failure. After the launch took place at 2333 GMT on 24 January 2016, from the Uchinoura Space Center in Kagoshima, …

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Recent re-entries: Progress MS-03 de-orbits in visible burn-up with HTV-6 following afterwards

Progress MS-03/ISS-64P was undocked from the International Space Station’s (ISS) Pirs module at 1425 GMT on 31 January 2017. Bright lights from the External Television Camera Groups (ETVCGs) were left on to see if this made in-orbit remote control manoeuvres …

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HTV-6 departs ISS ready for tether experiment but it may have gone wrong (Updated)

Having been filled with trash for disposal, the HTV-6 (Kounotori-6) was unberthed and later fully released by Canadarm-2 at 1546 GMT on 27 January 2017. Before it will make a full controlled re-entry over the Pacific, the spacecraft will deploy …

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H-2A launches DSN-2 commercially operated comsat for Japan’s military to use

An H-2A (H-IIA) rocket was launched from the Tanegashima launch site in Japan at 0744 GMT on 24 January 2016. On board the rocket, which flew in the four SRB booster H-IIA 204 configuration using the recently uprated LOX/LH2 upper …

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Japan’s dedicated SS-520-4 cubesat launch vehicle fails on first launch attempt (Corrected)

The first flight of Japan’s dedicated SS-520-4 cubesat launch vehicle has failed on its maiden flight. The launch took place at 2333 GMT on 24 January 2016 from the Uchinoura Space Center in Kagoshima, Japan. After a successful lift-off from …

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New version of Epsilon launches Van Allen belt research satellite for Japan

The Japanese space agency JAXA has launched a new version of its Epsilon launch vehicle called Epsilon 2 which uses upgraded second and third stages. The launch took place from Kagoshima (Uchinora Space Centre) at 1100 GMT on 20 December.…

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JAXA launches HTV cargo craft to ISS using H-2B rocket

A HTV (H-II Transfer Vehicle) cargo craft was carried into orbit by an H-2B (H-IIB) rocket at 1326 GMT on 9 December. The mission was a resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) and was launched from the Tanegashima …

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Japan launches Himawari 9 continuing its domestic weather monitoring service

At 0620 GMT, 2 November 2016, a Japanese H-IIA202 launcher carried the Himawari 9 (Geostationary Meteorological Satellite), into a Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO). From there it will take the spacecraft a few weeks to reach its operational orbit of around …

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Soyuz MS-01 departs from ISS and successfully re-enters and lands with three crew

The Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft undocked from the Rassvet module of the International Space Station (ISS) at 0035 GMT on 30 October 2016 carrying Russian astronaut Anatoly Ivanishin, US astronaut Kate Rubins and Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi.

The spacecraft made a …

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IAC 2016 Guadalaraja: Mars missions and new rockets feature…and so does the rain

IAC 2016 Guadalaraja: Mars missions and new rockets feature… and so does the rain

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The annual meeting of the World’s space agencies, engineers and scientists at the 67th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) took place in Guadalajara, Mexico, during late …

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New Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft design is launched to ISS and later docks with ISS (Updated)

At 0136 GMT on 8 July 2016 the maiden launch of the new MS (Modernized Systems) variant of the Soyuz manned spacecraft was performed by a Soyuz FG launch vehicle lifting off from the Baikonur Cosmosdrome, near Tyuratam, Kazakhstan. On …

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Astro H (Hitomi) demise caused by two attitude control failures

The cause of the spin that led to the demise of the Japanese Astro H (Hitomi) space observatory, on 26 March 2016, has been described by JAXA. In fact there were two spins and two causes: an incorrect measurement of …

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Newly-launched Japanese Astro-H (Hitomi) observatory falls into fatal spin and sheds debris (Updated)

All communications were lost with the Japanese Astro-H (Hitomi) astronomy spacecraft after a suspected structural failure event on 27 March 2016 after it fell into a spin. US Strategic Command detected debris coming off the spacecraft at 0142 GMT and …

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Astro-H and three other science satellites are launched by H-2A rocket

An H-2A202 launch from Tanegashima in Japan took place at 0845 on 17 February 2016. Aboard the flight to orbit were four satellites. The main payload was the Japanese ASTRO-H aka Hitomi spacecraft. This 2700kg astronomical spacecraft, which has been …

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Japan’s Akatsuki finally makes it to Venus after long odyssey

The Japanese Akatsuki (Planet-C) spacecraft finally entered orbit around the planet Venus after a five-year odyssey. The spacecraft made an engine firing of an attitude control engine at 2351 GMT on 6 December 2015. Originally launched in May 2010, the …

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Japan’s H-2A Upgrade version puts its commercial card down with successful launch of Telesat 12 Vantage

As it eyes making H-3 (H-III), the next rocket in its family, even more commercially attractive, Mitsubushi Heavy Industries (MHI) has conducted its first commercial launch of a slightly improved “Upgrade” version of its H-2A204 launch vehicle, carrying its first …

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IAC 2015 Jerusalem: Holy city “terrorist” stabbings and “summary justice” gun executions mar Congress but space business goes on

The city of Jerusalem played host city to the International Astronautical Congress 2015 (IAC 2015).  Due to concerns about security, attendance was about 30% down on usual years, although with over 2,000 participants attending from 58 different countries the Congress …

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HTV-5 cargo craft unberthed and released from International Space Station for reentry

The empty Japanese cargo spacecraft HTV-5 (Kounotori-5) cargo craft was filled with rubbish that the crew of the International Space Station (ISS) no longer wanted.  After being unberthed from its docking station at 1120 GMT the spacecraft was released by …

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Busy late month in August for ISS involving lots of comings and goings and even a spacewalk

While August is traditionally a slow month for major news stories, the same cannot be said for the International Space Station with several comings and goings and even a spacewalk during the latter part of the month.

On 14 August, …

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