First commercial launch for Japan's H-IIA rocket platform
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have announced that the Telesat Telstar 12 VANTAGE satellite made a successful launch from the Yoshinobu launch pad. The launch was the first using the H-IIA upgraded second stage and the first commercial launch for the platform.
JAXA says that launch took place under fine weather with a NE wind of 19 mph (31 km/h) and a temperature of 22º C (72º F). The agnecy confirmed that the satellite separated from the second stage about 4 hours and 27 minutes after liftoff as it headed into geosynchronous orbit.
Today's launch is the 28th successful liftoff of Japan's flagship launch vehicle. The new upgrade allowed the second stage to fire three times on the way to geostationary orbit instead of sending Telstar 12 into a slower transfer orbit. The Telstar 12 VANTAGE is a Canadian communications satellite that replaces the previous Telstar 12 and will provide communications services between the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, the South Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and North Sea.
Although it is the first commercial launch for the launch system, the H-IIA first flew in 2001 and has been used to launch numerous satellites, the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory, the first solar-powered spacecraft, and the Hayabasa 2 spacecraft, just to name a few.