Japan's flagship H3 rocket successfully places satellite into orbit

Japan's new flagship H3 rocket has successfully placed an Earth observation satellite into orbit in its third launch.

The rocket lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center in the southwestern prefecture of Kagoshima shortly after midday on Monday.

The H3 let go of its booster rockets and first-stage engine before it released the satellite, Daichi-4, in the scheduled orbit about 17 minutes after liftoff.

Daichi-4, which utilizes radar technology, is expected to be used in observing damage caused by disasters and for swift detection of abnormal changes related to volcanic activity.

The H3 rocket is being developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

The launch of the first H3 rocket last year ended in failure and the loss of the Earth observation satellite, Daichi-3, which it was carrying.

After countermeasures were put in place, the second attempt in February this year was successful.

The third launch marked its first successful placing of a large satellite into orbit.

Fiscal 2025 is expected to see the H3 rocket fully replace the current mainstay H2A rocket, which is set to retire after its 50th launch in fiscal 2024.

JAXA aims to launch six H3 rockets annually.