February 26, 2021
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Building hopes
Japan’s efforts to boost space launch capability Notwithstanding the tremendous strides made by Japan in the frontiers areas of scientific research and cutting edge futuristic technology, the island nation is yet to leave its imprint on the multi billion dollar global market for launching satellites of various categories on commercial terms. While the two other Asian space faring nations, India and China, are making steady progress in attracting customers-mainly from the third world countries-for their commercial launch service, Japan seems to be lagging behind  in the  critical area of space launch business. And in a landmark decision aimed at turning the Japanese space program into an economically viable enterprise, considered a vital step towards making Japan a competitive player in the fierily competitive but lucrative global space market, the Japanese space agency JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) has been freed from the responsibility of the launch operations of country’s heavy lift H-IIB rocket. Consequently, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), which has been handling the launch of H-II A since 2007, will also be responsible for H-IIB launches. This was sequel to the successful July 2012 launch of the H-IIB vehicle which placed into low earth orbit Kounotori 3, a cargo transfer vehicle for facilitating supply runs to the International Space Station (ISS). H-IIB, an upgraded version of H-IIA, is capable of carrying
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