Nation’s 1st civilian rocket launch site unveiled to press

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Japan’s first civilian rocket launch site, Space Port Kii in Kushimoto, Wakayama Prefecture, is seen Thursday.

KUSHIMOTO, Wakayama — The nation’s first civilian rocket launch site, located in the town of Kushimoto, Wakayama Prefecture, was unveiled to the press on Thursday.

 Space Port Kii was constructed by Tokyo-based startup Space One Co., which is planning to launch its first rocket at the end of February.

 The company developed the launch facility with the aim to start providing commercial space transportation services, such as sending small satellites into orbit.

 A rocket launch was originally scheduled for fiscal year 2021 but was postponed twice due to logistical problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, both of which hindered the procurement of necessary parts.

 Space One gave the press a look at its facilities, including the main command building, which controls launches, and a service tower built on a rocket launch pad. The tower moves on rails to accommodate the placement of rockets to be launched.

 “We‘re approaching the most significant point [of the project]. We want to make sure of carrying out every step involved,” the company official said.