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Japan’s launch vehicle of choice
The H-II family of rockets are Japan’s go to launch vehicle for anything from a few tons to interplanetary launches. The H-IIa is the lightest in the family, consisting of a first stage powered by a single LE-7A engine powered by LOX/H2, plus a pair of strap-on SRB-A boosters. Other configurations use up to four SRB-As as well as up to four smaller Castor 4AXL solid rocket boosters. The common upper stage is powered by the vacuum-optimized LE-5A engine.
H-II series rockets launch from the Tanegashima space center, in southern Japan. There, they can reach polar, intermediate, and equatorial orbits. Tanegashima also holds the distinction of being one of few spaceports to have launched interplanetary missions, including Hayabusa (which studied near-Earth asteroids), NOZOMI (Mars flyby), and Akatsuki (Venus orbiter).
- Type: VAB
- Class: lifter
- Part Count: 281
- Pure Stock
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