Spacelift Washington: Japan adds Castors to the next H-IIA launch

By frank_sietzen
December 31, 2001
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Spacelift Washington

Spacelift Washington Archive

The National Space Development Agency (NASDA) of Japan has set a 70 minute launch window on January 31st as launch time for the second H-IIA heavy lift booster. The window runs from 11:40 am to 12:50pm local time on January 31st from the Tanegashima Island launch facility.

But on this second launch of the new vehicle NASDA has added a larger fairing for multiple payloads, as well as two sets of Castor strap-on solid motors for added boost. In this configuration, NASDA says the basic standard H-IIA is in its biggest cargo variant.

Adding thrust to the vehicleƕs existing set of gimbaling solid boosters, the Castors are the IV XL versions with mods for the attachment between the H-IIA large standard solids. The rockets have been used on the U.S. Atlas IIAS and Delta II launchers, are 15 meters long and produce 745 KiloNewtons of thrust.
The January launch is the first H-IIA to fly a payload unit. Aboard for the flight will be the Mission Demonstration Test Satellite (MDS-1) and the DASH Demonstrator of Atmospheric Reentry System with Hyper Velocity test vehicle. The latter payload is being flown for the ISIS space research organization in Japan.

Other changes in this vehicle include modifications to the LE-7A engine with an improved turbopump. A test is also set during the flight in which the LE-5B upper stage engine will be restarted a third time 100 minutes after liftoff to simulate deployment of multiple satellite payloads into different types of orbits.
A simulated GTO injection will also be conducted. The DASH will not go into orbit on this flight. The MDS-1 will orbit at an irregular 500 x 35,735-km. ellipse.

The H-IIA is expected to compete on a limited production basis against U.S. Atlas V, Delta IV, Proton, Sea Launch, and the European Ariane 5. Commercial versions of the rocket are not expected to be available for sale until 2004.

Related Links

  • 15 November 2001: Launch date for H-IIA Launch Vehicle No.2, NASDA

  • 29 August 2001: Launch Success of the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No.1

  • 23 August 2000: Results of First Stage Captive Firing Test (4th Test) conducted as Part of Standard Type H-II A Launch Vehicle Ground Test Vehicle/Ground System Test, NASDA

  • 7 June 2000: Test Results of the H-IIA Rocket Solid Fuel Rocket Booster (SRB-A) Qualified-type motor ground propulsion test (QM2), NASDA

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