Apparently, the Japanese don't give up easily. Coming just about a year after Japan launched a tiny, experimental rocket which failed to reach orbit, their space agency, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has successfully launched an experimental rocket into orbit - the world's smallest.
According to JAXA, the launch was a demonstration experiment, which carried the TRICOM-1R, a three-unit cubesat, into the lower Earth's orbit. While there, it will observe the Earth with a set of cameras.
Currently, it is in orbit, with JAXA saying that its status is “nominal.” With its successful launch, the SS-520-5 has broken a record by being the smallest rocket to ever deliver a satellite into orbit. The vehicle is a SS-520 sounding rocket that’s been modified with a third stage, which helped bring the satellite into orbit.
This mission is all part of a recent movement in the space sector towards using smaller vehicles to deliver tiny payloads. Small rockets designed to carry small payloads like the Japan’s SS-520-5 are designed to help bring down the cost to get to orbit, paving the way for small companies that can’t afford to hitch a ride into orbit on rockets from companies like SpaceX, or Orbital ATK.
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