Left Menu
Development News Edition

Japanese space startup aims to compete with US rivals

PTI | Tokyo | Updated: 15-05-2019 19:34 IST | Created: 15-05-2019 17:38 IST
Japanese space startup aims to compete with US rivals
Image Credit: ANI

A Japanese startup that launched a rocket into space last month plans to provide low-cost rocket services and compete with American rivals such as SpaceX, its founder said Wednesday. Interstellar Technology Inc. founder Takafumi Horie said a low-cost rocket business in Japan is well-positioned to accommodate scientific and commercial needs in Asia. While Japan's government-led space programs have demonstrated top-level technology, he said the country has fallen behind commercially due to high costs.

"In Japan, space programs have been largely government-funded and they solely focused on developing rockets using the best and newest technologies, which means they are expensive," Horie told reporters in Tokyo. "As a private company, we can focus on the minimum level of technology needed to go to space, which is our advantage. We can transport more goods and people to space by slashing costs." Horie said his company's low-cost MOMO-3 rocket is the way to create a competitive space business in Japan.

During its May 4 flight, the unmanned MOMO-3 rocket reached 113.4 kilometres (70 miles) in altitude before falling into the Pacific Ocean. The cost to launch the MOMO-3 was about one-tenth of the launch cost of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the country's space agency, according to Interstellar CEO Takahiro Inagawa. Horie said his company plans to launch its first orbital rocket — the ZERO — within the next few years and then it would technologically be on par with competitors such as Elon Musk's SpaceX, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and New Zealand engineer Peter Beck's Rocket Lab.

The two-stage ZERO would be twice as long and much heavier than the compact MOMO-3, which is about 10 meters (32 feet) long and 50 centimetres (1.5 feet) in diameter and weighs about 1 ton. It would be able to send satellites into orbit or carry payloads for scientific purposes. Development of a low-cost commercial rocket is part of a growing international trend in the space business led by the U.S. and aggressively followed by China and others.

At home, Horie could face competition from space subsidiaries of major companies such as Canon and IHI, which have expertise from working with the government's space agency.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

‘Discounted Deaths’ and COVID 19: Anthropology of Death and Emotions

Death is a social event rather than the mere cessation of biological functions. As seen by anthropologists, death is not just physical but intensely social, cultural, and political....

Indigenous knowledge of communities a must for maximizing impact of community work

Generally, it has been observed that the majority of the academicians in higher education institutions neglect the wisdom of community people and throw their weight around thinking that they know everything and the community knows nothing. ...

In rebuking FBR, Pakistan’s courts take a stand for public health

The system, if implemented effectively, will allow Pakistans revenue service to combat the illicit trade in tobacco products and potentially add hundreds of millions of dollars to the states budget each year. ...

Dissecting how COVID-19 is catalyzing the trajectory of New World Order

The ensuing pandemic of COVID-19 has hit the globalization in two ways firstly, shrinking the importance of globalization as an economic force by curtailing mobility through worldwide lockdowns, and secondly, rejuvenating the idea of indig...

Videos

Latest News

White House to skip expected mid-year economic projections -Washington Post

The White House will not release updated economic projections this summer, including one for the federal deficit, in a break with a long-standing practice, the Washington Post reported on Thursday, citing three people familiar with the move...

SC poses queries to Centre, states on fare, transportation of home bound migrant workers

The Supreme Court Thursday raised queries before the Centre and state governments over stranded migrant workers facing the endless wait for seats in home-bound trains or buses, the confusion over payment of fares and alleged lack of food an...

Moscow's new coronavirus cases fall to lowest in more than a month

The Kremlin on Thursday praised Moscows authorities after the city reported its lowest daily increase in coronavirus infections since April 23, but some critics raised questions over some of Russias reported data.Officials say Russias outbr...

Losing livelihood due to lockdown, man takes up smuggling liquor, arrested

A man who took to smuggling liquor after losing his livelihood due to the coronavirus-triggered lockdown was arrested by the police, officials said on Thursday. The accused -- Rajesh Singh -- a resident of outer Delhis Bawana, used to su...

Give Feedback