Sponsored by: Investment Center

Something new in your business?  Click here to submit your business press release

Chamber Corner | Main Street News | Job Hunt | Classifieds | Calendar | Illinois Lottery 

Japan to launch satellite for South Korea

Send a link to a friend

[January 12, 2009]  TOKYO (AP) -- Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. said Monday it has signed an agreement to send a South Korean satellite into orbit, the first commercial order for use of a Japanese-made rocket.

Japanese officials hope this satellite-launching business will grow to help fund Tokyo's space programs.

RestaurantMitsubishi Heavy, which produces the H2A rocket, said it received an order from the Korea Aerospace Research Institute to launch its multipurpose Arirang 3 satellite during the fiscal year beginning April 2011. The company did not disclose the price it was charging South Korea.

Since 1970, Japan has sent dozens of satellites into orbit, mostly on rockets built by other nations. But it has fallen behind China in the lucrative commercial satellite launching business. China launched a communications satellite for Nigeria in 2007 and another for Venezuela last year.

All but one of the 14 previous launches of Mitsubishi Heavy's H2A rockets have been successful -- mainly to send up satellites for Japan's space agency JAXA. But Japan has never launched a commercial satellite using its homegrown H2A rocket.

The H2A rocket was initially designed and built as a government project in which Mitsubishi took part. The rocket project has since been privatized as a business of Mitsubishi Heavy, now considered a vital part of Japan's space program.

"Boosted by this first overseas satellite launch services order, MHI now plans to further enhance its marketing activities in both domestic and overseas satellite launch services, in a quest to advance the future development of Japan's space industry," Mitsubishi said in a statement.

The South Korean satellite is meant to provide geographical, environmental and agricultural data and monitoring ocean through high resolution optical images. Since 1992, South Korea has launched nearly 10 satellites, all of them aboard foreign rockets.

[to top of second column]


Later this month, JAXA will launch eight satellites to demonstrate that Japan's rocket can compete with its rivals. Tokyo is not charging launch fees for the satellite users.

In addition to the primary mission to launch a greenhouse-gas monitoring satellite, "Ibuki," which means "breath," the rocket will carry seven mini satellites -- one developed by JAXA and six created by university labs and private industry -- to display its capabilities for commercial use.

The rocket will be launched from Tanegashima, where Japan's main space center is located, about 600 miles (970 kilometers) southwest of Tokyo.

[Associated Press; By MARI YAMAGUCHI]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


< Recent articles

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor