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  INTRODUCTION  Prologue  
Toda's visit to Murata

It was 1909 when the production of explosives officially started in Japan. On June 6 that year, a boy was born in Kumamoto Prefecture. His name was Tsutomu Murata, and he later took the challenge to launch the first rocket in Japan and became an "explosives godsend."

Murata once told me about his experience shooting birds with his handmade rubber-band gun when he was about a 6th grader at elementary school. But I heard that what really inspired Murata to make explosives his major at university was Otokichi Mikami's novel "Spring will come back (Heaven far away from Hell.)" It's the story about a young engineer who devoted his invention of explosives to his country after experiencing tremendous difficulties.

In 1934, on the Tsujido coast, one young man launched a shabby little rocket from a handmade launch pad. The rocket launched toward the beach and flew in a big arc over the young man's head, before landing in the woods behind the beach. This was the first rocket launch in Japan as far as I know. The young man who launched the rocket was Tsutomu Murata.

Later during World War II, Murata took the lead in developing a rocket for the Corregidor attack. The explosives for the 40-cm guns on the battleship Yamato were also mainly designed by this person.

Starting small
A 600,000-yen subsidy from the university wasn't enough, so we also needed 400,000 yen from the Ministry of Education as a scientific research subsidy. The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) had a research subsidy system to support private enterprises. So, Fuji Seimitsu applied for this and received 2,300,000 yen, if I recall. In addition, Fuji Seimitsu also funded the same amount and activities for the development of a pencil rocket started to progress. (Nomura)

In 1954, the AVSA research group received 600,000-yen in research expenditures and took its first step in the aim of building a high-speed shock tunnel and conducting research on a rocket telemeter. In addition, as Nomura had told us, a 400,000-yen scientific research subsidy from the Ministry of Education and a 2,300,000-yen industrial test research subsidy from MITI to Fuji Seimitsu were provided. The subsidy from MITI was provided under the precondition of providing the same amount of money from the applicant company, so total expenditures for the year reached 5,600,000 yen.

This is a story about that time.

Toda and Kakimi from Fuji Seimitsu visited MITI together in order to receive their subsidy.

When we visited there, a young MITI official told me something like, "What are you thinking, trying to make a profit from government money?" At that time, my youthfulness lead me to reply, " What are you saying? We are not doing this for fun! Our company's main business is to make a profit. We cannot run this at a loss just for the sake of research. To use the nation's tax money and not try to make a profit is absurd!" We continued to argue and almost came to blows in front of Mr. Toda and the Section Manager from MITI.

The Section Manager cooled down the situation and after returning to the office I was told off by Mr. Toda, "What are you saying against our administration?" By this time, I couldn't give in and told him, "They should fix their brains, talking as if making a profit is a crime. If these kind of people are tagged as future administration leaders, they need to fix this early, otherwise they will all be odd people."

Eventually though, we decided to go and apologize to them and Mr. Toda took me there and I said, "I'm sorry." The official , who also might have been scolded by his section manager, apologized saying, "Our administrative office also said ridiculous things. Let's put it behind us." And after that the trouble settled down. (Kakimi)

Many small-scale experimental rockets were produced and combustion tests were performed in the factory. Amongst these experiments, a 200-gram pencil rocket with a diameter of 1.8 cm and length of 23 cm was created, which was adjusted to the size of the macaroni-like propellant that Yasuaki Toda had brought back from Tsutomu Murata. If I recall, that was a precious nest egg.

A double base mainly contains nitro glycerin and nitro cellulose and an adequate amount of stabilizer and softening agent are mixed in. They are then stirred and kneed into a pounded-rice-like mixture and pushed out from the compander.

The shape of the nose cone and the tail assembly were decided by Fumio Tamaki. While trying out rectangle wings, delta wings, etc., the clipped delta wings were selected under the guidance of Tamaki. Next, the aerodynamic center was measured and research was conducted on flight stability by changing the distance between the center of gravity and the aerodynamic center. To do this, turning orbits were measured using different metals for the edge from duralumin (Aluminum alloy), brass to steal and angles to attach the tail wings.

The test stand and the measuring equipment were built in the Ogikubo factory of Fuji Seimitsu and the combustion experiment continued. Then in March the following year, the experimental launch was finally ready.

As time went by, good news emerged. A larger compander was discovered lying around in storage at NOF's Taketoyo plant. It appeared it had been used in the Corregidor attack in the Philippines during the Pacific War. An underground test stand was built on a corner of the Ogikubo factory of Fuji Seimitsu and within a year of 1954 the ground combustion test was performed on the rocket's motor, which had a 65-mm chamber. This later became the "Baby" rocket.

During this period, a surprising destiny awaited the AVSA research group as its devoted itself to the Pencil rocket.

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