AFP (TOKYO): A Japanese rocket lifted off on Tuesday (24) with the national space programme’s first commercial satellite as Tokyo tries to enter a business dominated by European and Russian companies.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries oversaw the launch from Tanegashima Space Centre in southwest Japan.
The launch of the H-IIA rocket was originally scheduled at 3.23pm (0623 GMT), but was delayed by roughly 30 minutes because a small ship unexpectedly came near the space station.
The rocket successful launched at 3.50pm, carrying the TELSTAR 12V communications and broadcasting satellite for Canadian satellite operator Telesat.
It was scheduled to release the payload into orbit about 4 1/2 hours after liftoff, the space agency said.
Japan wants to become a major player in the satellite launching business. It has tried to improve the H-IIA rocket to cut the cost of each launch to make its programme competitive.