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Japan Launches New Rocket

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Japan's 'affordable' Epsilon rocket triumphs on first flight

A Japanese rocket designed to make launches cheaper and more efficient blasted off from southern Japan on Saturday, achieving success on its first flight with a compact telescope to peer at Mars, Venus and Jupiter and study their response to blasts of solar wind.

Sporting intuitive smarts, artificial intelligence and controlled by a lean support crew with laptop computers, the 80-foot-tall Epsilon rocket streaked away from a launch pad at the Uchinoura Space Center at 0500 GMT (1 a.m. EDT; 2 p.m. Japan time) Saturday, accelerating out of sight within minutes as it arced over the Pacific Ocean and dropped its empty rocket motors east of the launch site on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu.

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Launch of Epsilon-1 with SPRINT-A aboard

JAXA launched the first Epsilon Launch Vehicle (Epsilon-1) with the Spectroscopic Planet Observatory for Recognition of Interaction of Atmosphere (SPRINT-A) onboard at 14:00 on September 14 (Sat.), 2013 (Japan Standard Time, JST) from the Uchinouora Space Center.

The launch vehicle flew smoothly, and, at about 61 minutes and 39 seconds after liftoff, the separation of the SPRINT-A was confirmed.

We would like to express our profound appreciation for the cooperation and support of all related personnel and organizations that helped contribute to the launch of the Epsilon-1.

The satellite is currently in good health.

The SPRINT-A's nickname was also decided. It is "HISAKI"

Credit: JAXA

Source: JAXA - Epsilon Site

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