[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 26 February, 2005, 12:27 GMT
Launch takes Japan back to space
Rocket launch
Japan wants to revive the reputation of the H-2A rocket
Japan has successfully launched a rocket into space, 15 months after its last attempt ended in a huge fireball.

The 53m (174ft) H-2A rocket, with the word Nippon - or Japan - painted on its side, blasted off and placed a satellite in orbit.

Launches were put on hold in November 2003, when controllers destroyed a rocket and its load of spy satellites after a booster failed to detach.

Correspondents say the space programme now faces stiff competition from China.

They say space agency Jaxa wants to revive the reputation of the H-2A, the centrepiece of the programme, and show that Japan remains a viable contender.

Delays

The orange and white rocket roared up into a cloudy sky from the launch site, on the remote southern island of Tanegashima, at 1825 on Saturday (0925 GMT).

Around 40 minutes later it put a multi-purpose weather and navigation satellite in orbit.

Live TV showed mission scientists and engineers applauding and shaking hands in the control room.

The take-off had been delayed for two days by weather, and then for another hour because of a fault in the data transmission system.

The lost November 2003 payload of two spy satellites was intended to monitor North Korea.

Japan's embarrassment was compounded by the fact that China had put a man into space just weeks earlier, a feat which Tokyo has never attempted.




SEE ALSO:
Japan scuttles two spy satellites
29 Nov 03 |  Asia-Pacific
Fishing season delays Japan satellites
02 Oct 03 |  Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Japan's spy satellites
28 Mar 03 |  Asia-Pacific
N Korea angry at Japan launch
28 Mar 03 |  Asia-Pacific
Japan launches asteroid probe
09 May 03 |  Science/Nature
Japan celebrates rocket success
04 Feb 02 |  Science/Nature


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific