Epsilon Launch Vehicle

Under Development

Project Topics


November 7, 2013 Updated

Epsilon Launch Vehicle awarded Good Design Award Gold Award

The first Epsilon Launch vehicle (Epsilon-1) developed and launched by JAXA in September 2013 received the JFY 2013 Good Design Award Gold Award sponsored by the Japan Institute of Design Promotion.
Epsilon was listed as one of the 1,212 Good Design Award winners from 3,400 nominees, then selected for the best 100 products, and finally chosen for the Gold Award this time.

Mission talk by team leaders


Here are messages from Project Managers.
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Project Manager

Overview


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Lowering the hurdles to space

As part of our research on the next-generation solid propellant rocket, we plan to reduce the cost by a third of that for the former M-V Launch Vehicle. However, we are not only thinking about cost reductions. Our ultimate goal is to lower hurdles to space by developing a space transportation system suitable for a new age and by making rocket launches much simpler. Additionally, we will be able to meet the wide range of demands for rocket launches by operating the H-IIA and H-IIB Launch Vehicles as well.


Innovation of the launch system

For the next-generation solid fuel rocket, we plan to reform the launch system and improve the operation performance to the highest global standard by utilizing innovative ideas far beyond a simple combination of existing technologies. For example, we will reduce the time needed for the operation of ground facilities and launches to about one fourth of the time required for the M-V Launch Vehicle. To do this, we will make the vehicle perform checks onboard and autonomously and reduce the time required for operations on the ground. Ultimately, through internet, we will be able to check and control rockets anywhere in the world simply by using a laptop computer. We are planning to realize the world, where the launch control system is not necessarily at the launch site anymore. Such an innovative concept for a new solid propellant rocket will become a good model for future launch systems involving a liquid fuel rocket.


Making rocket launches as simple as daily events

Currently, onboard equipment is custom made to suit each rocket. Assuming that the rocket was a personal computer, onboard equipment for the rocket would correspond to the computer peripherals and are unique to that specific rocket. For our new rocket, we are aiming as much as possible to develop onboard equipment that can be shared with a family of rockets. For example, we are thinking of connecting onboard equipment through a high-speed network. Hence, if we use common interfaces on them, we can freely add or change equipment, or even put them on a different rocket just like computer peripherals. In other words, launching the rocket is just like using a computer. The launch of the rocket will become much easier, just like daily events. This dream era, where we can become much closer to space, is only a few steps away.