Japan's space agency on Saturday succeeded in launching its next-generation H3 rocket, providing a much-needed boost to the nation’s satellite-launching and space exploration ambitions after the failure of its first model nearly a year ago.

The H3 liquid fuel rocket, developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture at 9:22 a.m.

The H3 was carrying a 2.6-ton dummy satellite called VEP-4, weighing about the same as Earth observation satellite Daichi-3, to help test the rocket’s flight performance. Daichi-3 was lost during the failed launch of the first unit last March.