H-IIA launches MTSAT-2

by Chris Bergin

Japan have launched their H-IIA Launch Vehicle (H-IIA F9) from the Tanegashima Space Center, taking the Multi-functional Transport Satellite 2 (MTSAT-2) into a geostationary orbit, this morning.

Rocket System Corporation (RSC) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the MTSAT-2 for air traffic control improvements and weather observations.

SPACEFLIGHT L2 – Coming soon

The launch took on extra interest, with this mission being the first of two satellite deployments in the space of just three days. On February 21, JAXA are aiming to launch their M-V F8 vehicle, with the infrared astronomical satellite ASTRO-F.

**Live update thread, plus background information**

‘I’m delighted by the outcome, which ensured the credibility of the H2-A rocket and demonstrated a steady progress of our nation’s space development,’ said Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

‘I hope we can continue to build on this achievement.’

The MTSAT-2 satellite will be active about 36,000km above the equator as one of the geostationary satellites, like the MTSAT-1R satellite (‘Himawari No.6’) which was successfully lofted by H-IIA F7 as one of RSC’s launch mission in February 2005.

**Live webcast of the launch**

MTSAT-2 will enable to provide the secure system for air traffic control with MTSAT-1R by JCAB, and to start its another important function, meteorological observations to be operated by JMA, soon after the payload life of MTSAT-1R is exhausted.

RSC signed a launch services contract with JCAB and JMA in February 2003 to inject MTSAT-2 into geosynchronous transfer orbit by an H-IIA launch vehicle. A total mass at lift-off of the satellite will be approximately 4.65 tons. In order to loft such a massive spacecraft, RSC prepares 2024 type of H-IIA with 4 solid strap-on boosters.

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