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Japan launches H-2A
Posted: Tue, Sep 10, 2002, 11:58 AM ET (1558 GMT)
H-2A third launch (NASDA) A Japanese H-2A rocket successfully launched two experimental spacecraft into orbit early Tuesday. The booster lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center at 4:20 am EDT (0820 GMT), at the beginning of a 30-minute launch window. It placed into low Earth orbit the Unmanned Space Experiment Recovery System (USERS) spacecraft before firing its upper stage motor again to put the Data Relay Test Satellite (DRTS) into geosynchronous transfer orbit. USERS will spend eight months conducting crystal growth experiments; the crystals will be returned to earth in a reentry capsule USERS will jettison in May 2003. DRTS will conduct tests of high bandwidth Ka-band communications systems from its position at 90 degrees east, and may provide communications services for several other Japanese spacecraft. The launch is the third for the H-2A, an upgraded version of the H-2 booster that was retired after consecutive failures in the late 1990s. All three H-2A launches have been successful. The fourth H-2A launch is scheduled for November.
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