October 23, 2017

Photos: Japan’s H-2A rocket prepared for launch with Michibiki 2

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.

Credit: MHI
Ground crews attach one of the H-2A rocket’s solid-fueled boosters inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Tanegashima Space Center in advance of this week’s launch. Credit: MHI
Credit: MHI
Credit: MHI
Credit: MHI
Credit: MHI
Credit: MHI

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