TOKYO (Sputnik) – Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on Saturday carried out a successful launch of the world’s smallest carrier rocket SS-520-5, according to live broadcast by JAXA.
The liftoff took place from the Uchinoura Space Center at 02:03 p.m. local time (05:03 GMT).
The rocket is set to place into orbit a TRICOM-1R satellite for geological surveillance and communications with a mass of just three kilograms (6.6 pounds) developed at the University of Tokyo. The satellite would be used, in particular, for photographing the Earth’s surface.
The SS-520-5 is a three-stage rocket that is a modification of the SS-520 two-stage sounding rocket. The rocket is over 9.5 meters (29.5 feet long), with a diameter of 52 centimeters (1.71 feet) and a total mass of about 2,6 tonnes.
The predecessor of this rocket, SS-520-4 was unsuccessfully launched on January 15, 2017. The transmission of the telemetry data stopped 20 seconds after liftoff and the decision was taken not to send a signal to the second stage of the rocket to turn on the engine. After disabling the first-stage engine, the rocket fell into the ocean.