The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency plans to renovate its facilities at the rocket-launch complex in southwestern Japan in time for the launch of its next-generation flagship rocket, and has delayed the launch of an unmanned moon lander until fiscal 2019, people close to the matter said Thursday.

The agency will start the work at the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture from fiscal 2017, including the addition of an automated inspection system that will shorten the time for maintenance and allow more launches in a year, they said.

To introduce the automated system, it will renovate the center's assembly building, launch pads for the existing H-2A and H-2B rockets, and a device to transport rockets to the launch pad. The launch pad for the H-2B will be refurbished to suit the H-3, it said.