Epsilon-5 rocket launched carrying 9 satellites

Japan's Epsilon-5 rocket has been successfully launched with nine small satellites on board that were developed by universities and private companies.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, launched the Epsilon-5 at 9:55 a.m. on Tuesday from the Uchinoura Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan.

The lift-off was suddenly delayed by four minutes from the original schedule to avoid spacecraft carrying astronauts returning from the International Space Station.

The nine small satellites were released into orbit one by one as scheduled, at an altitude of about 600 kilometers.

The satellites were selected from applications submitted by universities and private companies.

One satellite developed by a major machinery manufacturer, is designed to test technologies to remove space debris.

Another satellite was developed by a university to observe microorganisms in space.

Ten colleges of technology across Japan jointly developed a satellite to observe radio waves from Jupiter.

JAXA developed the Epsilon series with the aim of putting small satellites into orbit at low cost.

Five Epsilon rockets have been successfully launched since 2013.