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Small Rocket "SS-520 No.5" Successfully Launched

Concerning the small rocket named "SS-520 No.5," a project successfully developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency(JAXA) based on a commission by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry(METI), launched successfully on February 3(Sat.), 2018, from a JAXA Uchinoura Space Center launch site.

1. Background

Anticipating an increase in demand for microsatellites, METI has been engaging in the Research and Development Project for the Improvement of Technical Information Infrastructures for the Space Industry(In-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 counter measures to overcome the failure and successfully developed the SS-520-5, leading to this subsequent successful launch.

The SS-520 No.5 was launched with a built-in microsatellite called "TRICOM-1R," an achievement developed by the University of Tokyo as another effort under the project.

2. Summary of the results

The SS-520 No.5 took flight as scheduled. It was confirmed that the rocket detached from the TRICOM-1R at approximately 7 and half minutes after the launching and settled into the orbit. The satellite is in a normal state.

[Results of the flight of the SS-520 No.5]

Type and model number of the rocket Launch time (Japan standard time) Launch angle Time when nose cone detached Time when satellite detached
SS-520 No.5 14:03:00 74 degrees 1 minutes and 7 seconds after the launching 7 minutes and 30 seconds after the launching

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

photo1 Length:9.54 m
Diameter:0.52m(representative section)
Total weight:2.6 tons
Propellant: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(suspended style)
Note: The photo below shows the SS5-520 No.4 rocket.

[Outline of the major specifications of TRICOM-1R]

photo2 General name:Microsatellite
Size:116m x 116m x 346 mm(excluding the antenna section)
Mass:About 3kg
Orbit: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 earth while in orbit and transfer data to the station according to the command at the time when it is situated 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 station back on earth.


Release date

February 3, 2018

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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