• Kyodo


The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency conducted a rehearsal Sunday for the launch of the country’s first new rocket in 12 years after the initially scheduled liftoff late last month was postponed.

The rehearsal “went well” for the Epsilon solid-fuel rocket at the Uchinoura Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, said an official of the state-run agency, known as JAXA.

JAXA will set the new date for the launch after analyzing the results of the rehearsal.

The launch of the Epsilon was canceled 19 seconds before the planned liftoff on Aug. 28 as the computer controlling the launch from the ground detected an abnormality in the rocket posture.

But it was later found to be normal. A time lag of 0.07 second in the transmission of data from computers aboard the rocket to the ground control center was the cause of the trouble.

Sunday’s rehearsal was carried out until 5 seconds before the liftoff.

Industry watchers say the Epsilon, equipped with artificial intelligence and built at a lower cost, may have the potential to shape future global standards in rocket launches.

The Epsilon is about half the size of the H-2A, which is liquid-fueled and 53 meters in length.

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