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NASDA announces launch date for first H-2A
Posted: Wed, Jul 4, 2001, 11:19 AM ET (1519 GMT)
H-2A illustration (NASDA) The Japanese space agency NASDA announced Wednesday it is planning to launch its new H-2A booster on its maiden flight late next month. Officials with the National Space Development Agency of Japan said that the launch of the H-2A is scheduled for between 1 and 6 pm Japan Standard Time (12 to 5 am EDT, 0400 to 0900 GMT) August 25 from the Tanegashima Launch Center. NASDA has reserved a launch window extending through the end of September should the H-2A not launch on August 25. The launch will be the first for the long-delayed H-2A, an upgraded version of the H-2 booster that was retired after back-to-back launch failures in February 1998 and November 1999. The H-2A's improvements include more powerful second-stage and solid-propellent strap-on engines and a simplified first-stage engine. The H-2A was originally scheduled to carry Artemis, a European Space Agency experimental communications satellite, but ESA elected to launch Artemis instead on an Ariane after the extended H-2A launch delays. The vehicle will instead carry a test payload.
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