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Japan announces successful launch of next-gen H3 rocket

Japan’s space agency announced the successful launch of its new flagship rocket on Saturday, making it third time lucky for the H3 after years of delays and two previous failed attempts.

The H3 rocket, billed as flexible and cost-effective by space agency JAXA, “was put into orbit,” a JAXA official told AFP.

Developed jointly by JAXA and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the H3 is the successor to the H-IIA launch system, which debuted in 2001.

Cheers and applause could be heard from JAXA’s control center after the agency’s live stream announced the rocket’s engines had successfully burned, meaning it had made orbit.

Following previous failures, improvements were made to the ignition system of the H3, which carries two small satellites.

One of the microsatellites is expected to contribute to disaster prevention by taking pictures and movies.

The other, equipped with a sensor to detect infrared rays, is intended to detect the operation conditions of factories on the ground.