Space Transportation Systems Epsilon Launch Vehicle

In Operation

Project Topics

Dec. 20, 2016 Updated

Success of Epsilon-2 Launch with ERG Aboard

Success of Epsilon-2 Launch with ERG Aboard

JAXA successfully launched the second Epsilon Launch Vehicle with Exploration of energization and Radiation in Geospace (ERG) aboard at 8:00 p.m. on December 20, 2016 (JST) from the Uchinoura Space Center. The launch vehicle flew as planned, and at approximately 13 minutes and 27 seconds after liftoff, the separation of ERG was confirmed. Press Release The signals were received in the Santiago Ground Station, the Republic of Chile at 8:37 p.m. (JST). ERG's solar array...

Press Release


About Epsilon Launch Vehicle

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.

Characteristics of Epsilon Launch Vehicle

1.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.

2.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.

Major Characteristics

Epsilon Major Characteristics

Length (m) 24
Mass (t) 91

Epsilon Launch Vehicle Launch Capacity

Specifications Standard Configuration
Three-staged Solid Propellant Launch Vehicle
Optional Configuration
Three-staged Solid Propellant Launch Vehicle
+ Compact Liquid Propulsion System
Low Earth Orbit (LEO) 1200kg
(Perigee 250km x
Apogee 500km)
(500km circle)
Sun-Synchronous Orbit (SSO) - 450kg
(500km circle)

Launch Records

Mission talk by team leaders

Project Manager Yasuhiro Morita

Here are messages from Project Managers.