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Small Rocket Called "SS-520 No.5" to be Launched

In response to the successful development of a small rocket called “SS-520 No.5” by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), a project commissioned by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Japan has decided to launch the rocket on December 25 (Mon.), 2017, from a launching site at JAXA Uchinoura Space Center in order to conduct a demonstration experiment of launching an microsatellite.

1. Purpose

Expecting an increase in demand for ultra-small satellites, METI has been engaging in a Research and Development Project for Improvement of Technical Information Infrastructures for Space Industry (On-orbit Demonstration of Space Equipment Making Use of Commercial Products). This project aims to develop small rockets, microsatellites and other space vehicles with price competitiveness in which Japan's commercial parts and technologies are utilized.

As part of this project, in January 2017, JAXA launched the SS-520 No.4, an improved version of the existing observatory rocket. However, the rocket failed to settle into the orbit of the scheduled satellite. In response, JAXA conducted new measures to overcome the failure and successfully developed the SS-520 No.5, leading to the planned launching of the rocket this December.

The SS-520 No.5 will be launched with a built-in microsatellite called "TRICOM-1R," an achievement developed by the University of Tokyo as another effort under the project. Both rocket and satellite will be launched on December 25 (Mon.), 2017, from a launching site at JAXA Uchinoura Space Center.

2. Schedule of the launching (tentative)

Date and time:
December 25(Mon.), 2017; from 10:00 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.(Japan standard time)
Reserved launch period: From December 26(Tue.), 2017, to January 31(Wed.), 2018
JAXA Uchinoura Space Center(1791-13, Minamikata, Kimotsukicho, Kimotsukigun, Kagoshima Prefecture)
Details of the guidelines for the press interview are under coordination.

Outline of the major specifications of the SS-520 No.5

0.52m(representative section)
Total weight:
2.6 ton
Solid Propellant
Stage structure:
Three-stage type
Launching ability:
Over 4kg to low earth orbit
Launching site:
JAXA Uchinoura Space Center
Launching style:
Rail launcher-sliding style(suspending style)
The photo shows the SS-520 No.4 rocket.

Outline of the major specifications of TRICOM-1R

General name:
micro satellite
116 mm x 116 mm x 346 mm(excluding an antenna section)
About 3kg
Elliptic orbit of 180 km perigee x 1,500 km apogee
Angle of inclination:
31 degrees
This satellite aims to complete [ⅰ] a mission to collect data sent from the terminal on the earth while orbiting the earth and transfer data to the station on the earth according to the command at the time when it comes above the control station, [ⅱ] a mission to shoot photos of the earth using a built-in camera, and [ⅲ] a prompt observation mission in which the satellite autonomously shoots photos of the earth immediately after being launched and settling into orbit and sends observatory data to the earth during the first communication with the station on the earth.

Release date

November 13, 2017

Division in Charge

Space Industry Office, Manufacturing Industries Bureau

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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