The second satellite in Japan’s regional space-based navigation constellation is set for launch Thursday aboard an H-2A rocket, and these photos show the hydrogen-fueled launcher’s preparations for liftoff, from stacking inside an assembly hangar at the Tanegashima Space Center through rollout to the launch pad.
The two-stage, 174-foot-tall (53-meter) rocket is powered by hydrogen-fueled engines and two strap-on solid rocket boosters. Thursday’s launch will be the 34th flight of an H-2A rocket since its debut in August 2001, and the third H-2A launch this year.
Its payload is the Michibiki 2 navigation satellite, a Japanese-built spacecraft that is the second of at least four positioning and timing stations Japan is deploying to improve navigation services over East Asia.
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