Japan launches H-IIA with QZS-1R satellite
Japan’s H-IIA rocket launched on October 26 at 02:19 UTC from LA-Y1 at the Tanegashima… The post Japan launches H-IIA with QZS-1R satellite appeared first on NASASpaceFlight.com.
Japan’s H-IIA rocket launched on October 26 at 02:19 UTC from LA-Y1 at the Tanegashima Space Center, carrying the QZS-1R satellite. This was 44th launch of the H-IIA rocket for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). For the mission, the H-IIA launched in the 202 configuration.
The QZS-1R satellite will join other satellites as a part of the Quasi-Zenith Satellite System, or QZSS, which is a satellite navigation system for Japan. Once QZS-1R becomes operational, it will be known as Michibiki-1R. The payload has a mass of around 4,100 kg.
The first QZSS satellite to launch to orbit was QZS-1, or Michibiki-1. The satellite launched in September 2010 on an H-IIA rocket from Tanegashima. This was an experimental satellite.
This was followed by QZS-2, QZS-3, and QZ-4. QZ-3 launched using the H-IIA in the 204 configuration, meaning four solid rocket boosters, instead of two. The other three launched on an H-IIA in the same 202 configuration being used for QZS-1R.
The QZSS constellation is designed to improve the accuracy of the American GPS constellation for Japanese users in urban areas. The QZS-1R satellite will replace the QZS-1 Satellite.
H-IIAH-IIA QZS-1R Updates
The H-IIA rocket is a medium-lift launch vehicle derived from Japan’s earlier H-II launch vehicle. The H-II was developed by both Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and JAXA’s predecessor, NASDA. The launch vehicle first flew in February 1994 and had a total of seven launches. The last two launches ended in a partial failure and a failure.
After the last launch in 1999, the H-II rocket was canceled due to both failures and high costs from the H-II program. Designs were then modified in order to design a more reliable and cost-effective H-IIA rocket.
The first stage of the H-IIA consists of a core stage with a single LE-7A engine, which is a staged combustion cycle engine that runs on liquid oxygen (LOX) and liquid hydrogen (LH2). A previous model of the LE-7A called the LE-7 was used on the first stage of the H-II rocket and led to the failure of H-II flight eight, the last flight of the H-II.
Two SRB-A solid rocket boosters, which burn hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene or HTPB are attached to the core stage. The H-IIA launch vehicle had one failure in 2003 on flight six, which was caused by a separation failure on one of the SRB-A boosters.
The second stage of the H-IIA is powered by a single LE-5B engine, which runs on LOX and LH2. Previous variants of this engine were used on the H-II and the H-I.
The previous launch of the H-IIA occurred in November 2020, lofting the JDRS-1 satellite into geostationary transfer orbit. That same year, the H-IIA was used to launch the Al Amal probe to Mars for the United Arab Emirates.
Tanegashima Space Center
On August 22, the core stage of the H-IIA rocket arrived at the Tanegashima Space Center for flight 44. The Tanegashima Space Center is located on Tanegashima island and is part of the Osumi Islands in Kagoshima Prefecture, south of the Japanese mainland.
As launch neared, the launch vehicle was assembled vertically in the vehicle assembly building, located at the Yoshinobu Launch Complex at Tanegashima. The Yoshinobu Launch Complex also consists of two launch pads, LA-Y1 and LA-Y2.
LA-Y1 is the oldest launch pad at the launch complex, which is used to launch the H-IIA type of rocket. The first launch from this pad was in 1994 on an H-II rocket.
LA-Y2 is the newest pad at the Yoshinobu Launch Complex and was used to launch the H-IIB until the rocket’s retirement in 2020.
Prior to launch, the H-IIA rolled out from the vehicle assembly building and was transported to LA-Y1 on a mobile launch platform.
Just prior to liftoff, the LE-7A engine on the core stage ignited, followed by ignition of the twin SRB-A side boosters. The vehicle then lifted off from LA-Y1.
The H-IIA rolled to its launch azimuth to take the payload to its proper inclined orbit. Around 91 seconds after launch, both SRB-A boosters burnt out and subsequently separated 17 seconds later.
The first stage, under the power of its single LE-7A, continued to ascend. Next, the payload fairing, which encapsulated the QZ-1R payload from the aerodynamic stress of launch, separated from the vehicle at around 4 minutes and 10 seconds after liftoff.
At the six-minute and 38-second mark into the flight, the LE-7A main engine shut down at a point in the mission known as main engine cut-off, or MECO. The second stage separated from the first around eight seconds later.
Six seconds later, the LE-5B engine ignited, beginning its first burn lasting around five minutes. At the conclusion of the first burn, the second stage began a coast phase.
The LE-5B then reignited for a burn that lasted for around three minutes. This burn inserted the stage and the payload into a geosynchronous transfer orbit. The QZS-1R satellite then separated from the second stage and began maneuvering to join the rest of the QZSS constellation.
(Lead image: An H-IIA in the vehicle assembly building prior to rolling out to launch Al Amal in 2020. Credit: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries)
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