JAXA conducts engine firing test on H3 rocket

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Smoke billows out of an H3 rocket during an engine test at the JAXA Tanegashima Space Center in Minamitane, Kagoshima Prefecture, on Monday.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) conducted an engine firing test on its new H3 rocket at the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture on Monday.

JAXA aims to conduct the first launch of an H3 rocket before the end of this fiscal year. The space agency will spend about two weeks analyzing data from the latest test to determine whether it was successful.

Two first-stage engines were fired for about 25 seconds during the test, causing smoke to billow from the base of the rocket towards the sea.

“If the test was successful, the completion of the H3 rocket is just around the corner,” JAXA project manager Masashi Okada said.

The H3, a successor to the flagship H2A rocket, is 57 meters long and 5.2 meters in diameter.

The first launch of an H3 rocket was scheduled for fiscal 2020, but it was delayed due to the discovery of cracks on the engine, among other issues.