Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has successfully launched a solid fuel rocket named Epsilon-2 from the Uchinoura Space Center in southern Japan.
The 26-metre-long rocket released Exploration of energization and Radiation in Geospace (ERG) satellite for studying radiation belts around the earth soon after the lift-off.
- ERG satellite will orbit in a highly elliptical orbit, getting as close to Earth as 350 kilometers and as far away as 30,000 km.
- This path will take the satellite through the Van Allen radiation belts, where the earth’s magnetic field traps huge numbers of fast-moving electrons and other particles.
- These particles mainly damage the computer systems aboard satellites and pose a radiation danger to astronauts.
- The satellite will use nine different instruments for studying radiation belts over the course of a mission designed to last at least one year.
Epsilon-2 rocket is part of a new generation of solid propellant rockets which can reduce launch costs up to one-third. The reduction in cost can allow it to put more communication and weather satellites in space. Thus, it can give JAXA a competitive edge in space launch industry which has robust growth potential and strong security implications.