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January 15th, 2018

JAXA's No Strike Zone ... Lightening Causes Launch of ASNARO 2 Be Scrubbed


All ready to launch and then ... First it was an electrical system in 2017, and now an electrical storm that has caused the delay of ASNARO-2.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said Monday it will postpone the Wednesday launch of its third Epsilon solid-fuel rocket due to expected bad weather, and the threat of a lightening strike. 

JAXA's announcement reads as follows: 

In light of adverse weather predicted for the launch day, JAXA postponed the launch of Epsilon-3, the third Epsilon launch vehicle which encapsulates NEC Small radar satellite "ASNARO-2" *, from the JAXA Uchinoura Space Center, to no earlier than January 18, 2018.

The space agency now aims to launch the three-stage, 26-meter rocket carrying an advanced and low-cost Asnaro-2 radar satellite, from Uchinoura Space Center in the town of Kimotsuki, Kagoshima Prefecture, on Thursday morning, at the earliest.

JAXA made the decision because lightning is forecast to threaten the region on Wednesday. Electronic equipment on the rocket may malfunction if struck by lightning, JAXA officials said

ASNARO 2 (Advanced Satellite with New system Architecture for Observation) is a Japanese radar satellite featuring an X-band radar. The imaging system is a X-band SAR with a ground resolution of 1 meter and a swath width of 10 km.  ASNARO-2 was developed by NEC Corporation as part of the project funded by Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. JAXA, NEC Corporation’s contractor is in charge of the ASNARO-2 launch operations.

The Epsilon-3 launch, originally scheduled for November 12, 2017, was postponed as its electrical system needed further confirmation. JAXA identified and took countermeasures against the factor that delayed the launch.