• Kyodo

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Japan’s H-IIA rocket, to be launched Aug. 25, was transferred to its launch pad Wednesday in the leadup to final testing.

It was the first time the nearly completed two-stage rocket could be viewed.

The rocket left its assembly area at Tanegashima Space Center at around 11:10 a.m. and took 20 minutes to reach the launch site about 500 meters away.

The rocket is an improved version of the domestic, trouble-prone H-II. It is about 53 meters high and weighs 285 tons.

Nearly all of its features were on view, except for the 12-meter tip covering the satellite.

The media will get a chance for a closeup view today, said officials of the National Space Development Agency of Japan.

NASDA will check the operations leading up to ignition today, after which the rocket will undergo further assembly and inspection.

The H-IIA is scheduled to reach an orbit of 260 km above Earth about 28 minutes after liftoff. The rocket’s first launch was originally scheduled for February but was delayed by problems.

that arose in tests of the LE-7A engine. Two H-II launches, in February 1998 and November 1999, ended in failure.

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