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Science
04 Feb 2018

Japanese space agency sets record, launches world's smallest rocket

The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has successfully launched the world's smallest rocket, called SS-520-5, to carry an equally small satellite.

The experimental rocket launched a three-unit CubeSat satellite, called the TRICOM-1R, into the Earth's lower orbit.

The satellite will reportedly observe the planet with a set of cameras. Here is more on it.

In context

Japan launches the world's smallest rocket

The rocket is the size of a utility pole

According to Japanese media reports, the rocket was "about the size of a utility pole, measuring 10 meters [33 feet] in length and 50 centimeters [20 inches] in diameter." They also said that it was built using "components found in home electronics and smartphones."

The tiny rocket sets an example for the space industry

Motive

The tiny rocket sets an example for the space industry

With this, JAXA has demonstrated to the space industry that space exploration does not always have to be expensive and that it is indeed possible to use smaller rockets to deliver tiny payloads.

These rockets bring down the cost of the overall operation and help small companies deliver payloads into the Earth's orbit in an affordable manner.

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Context

Japan's first attempt to launch a tiny rocket had failed

This is the second attempt to launch the tiny rocket. Earlier last year, the Japanese space agency had tried launching an experimental rocket, called the SS-520-4, with a payload comprising of a 6.6-pound satellite.

The launch failed after a communications failure prompted flight controllers to abort the mission.

The event had resulted in the rocket and the satellite falling back into the ocean.

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