In first of its kind initiative in the field of new generation of space rockets, Japan has launched a new rocket that it hopes will be a cheaper and more efficient way of sending satellites into space.
Hoping the design will make missions more affordable, Japan has launched the Epsilon rocket which is about half the size of country’s previous generation of space vehicles, and uses artificial intelligence to perform safety checks.
The lift-off was broadcast live on television networks, with footage showing a white, pencil-shaped rocket shot into the sky from the launch pad after spurting grey smoke and orange flash.
The Epsilon cost USD 37m (£23m) to develop, half the cost of its predecessor, says Japan’s space agency Jaxa.
The three-stage Epsilon lifted off from a space centre on Japan’s southern main island of Kyushu, following a two-week postponement. It is noteworthy, an earlier launch last month was aborted 19 seconds before a planned lift-off due to a computer glitch.
About an hour later, its payload – the SPRINT-A, the first space telescope designed to observe other planets – was successfully put into orbit, said Mari Harada, a spokeswoman at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA.