Space: November 30, 2003

Archives

Japan's space program is in big trouble. Their H2-A satellite launcher is too expensive and too unreliable to attract commercial business. On November 29th, an H2-A failed when one of it's two rocket boosters malfunctioned. This made it impossible for the launcher to get high enough to put the two spy satellites carried into a useful orbit. So the launcher was destroyed. The H2-A was meant to be a more reliable, and cheaper, version of the earlier H2 launcher. That rocket launched successfully five times in a row, then misfired on it's sixth launch and blew up on its seventh. Insurance companies were scared off and no commercial business was possible. The H2-A has had five successful launches since its first use in August of 2002. But you need at least six, or more, flawless launches in a row before commercial business will start coming your way. In the commercial launch business, track record is everything. Moreover, the Japanese launchers cost more than twice as much as those from competitors like China and Russia. But the H2-A still has some business from the Japanese government. There are plans to put eight spy satellites in orbit between now and 2008. Two spy satellites were put in orbit earlier this year, as part of the two billion dollar project. Japan decided to set up a system of spy satellites after North Korea tested a long range missile by firing it over Japan in 1998. The Japanese spy satellites will mainly serve to keep an eye on North Korean weapons programs.

 


Article Archive

Space: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close