JAXA Uses Smallest Rocket Ever to Launch Satellite into Orbit

In an unprecedented event Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) used the smallest rocket ever to launch a satellite into orbit. JAXA gave the SS-520 sounding rocket an extra third stage in the nose cone, in order to give the micro-satellite, a 3-kg (6.6-lb) TRICOM-1R, its final push into orbit.

Everything went according to plan during the launch. JAXA lists the satellite’s status as being in the “nominal” or observation phase, according to Futurism.

Although, as of now, JAXA has no plans to complete regular flights with its smallest rocket, the spaceflight industry  is seeing a progression leading to an uptick in interest for launches of this kind. For example, Rocket Lab based in New Zealand has been developing a smaller rocket to keep up with the need for smaller-scale trips into space.

Institutions are looking to launch smaller satellites and are therefore exploring cheaper alternatives. Rocket Lab and JAXA are among the first to show such progress in this field.

This new development highlights how the future of space travel can encompass a full spectrum of launch technology, from the mini-rocket all the way up to the heavy-scale goliaths and for anyone willing to take part, space is a virtually untapped resource full of potential.

References: http://bit.ly/2E1VnT8


Image Credit: Studio 400 / Shutterstock


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