The H-IIB Launch Vehicle (H-IIB) is the largest rocket in Japan, which was developed mainly for launching the H-II Transfer Vehicle KOUNOTORI (HTV), a cargo transfer vehicle to the International Space station (ISS), and other large payloads. For the development of the H-IIB
, we have capitalized on accumulated technologies through our experiences with the H-IIA
Launch Vehicles. In September 2009, the first H-IIB
(a test flight) was launched with the KOUNOTORI1, a demonstration flight of the HTV, onboard. This test flight was launched on schedule, and it was the first time for Japan to launch the first flight of a major launch vehicle series without any delay. The launch was very successful as the orbit injection was very accurate, thus it verified that this vehicle had more than the required launch capability. Consequently, we believe that we have demonstrated the maturity of our launch vehicle technology domestically and internationally. The launch this time is the second H-IIB flight
, and we have further improved the reliability of our rocket including improving a payload fairing (reinforcing the separation mechanism) for the payload this time, the KOUNOTORI2.
H-IIB is the sixth launch vehicle since our first major launch vehicle N-I, and this will mark the 51st
launch. Furthermore, it is the 20th
launch for the H-IIA
launch vehicles, thus it is a landmark launch. We now have less than two months before launch, and all of us are pulling ourselves together, and bracing ourselves for a successful launch. Your support is very much appreciated as it was for the test flight.
[December 22, 2010 Updated]