Competitiveness Upgrades for Japan’s H2A Rocket

Posted: September 17, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

Compete or die.  Survival of the fittest.  Economic Darwinism.

Does it apply to space launch?  Yup.

Of course, non-market intervention often distorts things beyond recognition.

Still, there are improvements being called for on Japan’s H2A rocket, designed in part to cut down on launch costs.

From The Mainichi Daily News:

By adding the improvements to the H2A on top of these positive developments, MEXT (Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology ) hopes to put Japan on equal footing with Russia and Europe, which currently nearly monopolizes the market for commercial satellite orders because of the low costs it charges.

There are obstacles facing MEXT’s project, however. With 10 years having passed since the first H2A rocket was built, many of the rocket’s electronics and other parts are no longer easily accessible because their manufacturing has been discontinued. Additionally, Japan’s launch facilities have become dilapidated from age. Improvements on these fronts are planned to proceed as well.

Ah, the mighty industrial base.  Aged-out infrastructure, obsolete technologies, lost second and third-tier vendors, and manufacturing knowledge are all at risk.

Perhaps a quick trip to Russia, China, India, or SpaceX is in order for MEXT?  Or even outsourcing their space launch to one of these organizations?

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