Learn more about the space shuttle H2A that Japan wants to use for commercial launching experience to space.
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Learn About the Japanese Space Shuttle H2A This empty launchpad was supposed to be the preview to a celebration. But when Japan’s H-IIA rocket had to be destroyed minutes after liftoff, it was the beginning of a witch hunt at a period of 18 months of soul-searching. The problem was eventually traced to a booster. Here at the Japan’s Space Agency’s launch site at Tanegashima Space Center, a remote island about 1200 kilometers southwest of Tokyo, engineers are sent out to examine every aspect of the H-IIA design—no easy task with 300,000 individual parts. The result they say is a better rocket. Until its disastrous 6th mission, the H-IIA had enjoyed 5 successful launches with payloads of satellites. The H-IIA didn’t just transport payloads into space, it carried Japan’s reputation as a potential rival to US and European rockets in the commercial launching business. That reputation suffered a big dent but the Japanese say that their space technology shouldn’t be judged on this one failure. And like in any industry, it’s about experience. But success in the commercial satellite launching business isn’t just about experience. It’s also about reputation and money. There is no doubt that space is a growth business with old satellites needed to be replaced and new customers emerging in Asia. To get back into contention from lucrative launch contracts, Japan must demonstrate that the H-IIA is reliable and depart frequently for space.