H3 Launch Vehicle

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Function Launch vehicle
Manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Country of origin Japan
Height 55-60 m
Diameter 4.5-5 m
Mass 215000-272000 kg
Stages 2
Payload to
GTO ⊿V=1500m/s
2100~6500 kg
Launch history
Status In development
Launch sites LA-Y, Tanegashima
First flight 2020
Boosters - M-34+
No. boosters 0-6
Engines 1 Solid
Thrust 9,220kN
Specific impulse 283.6 seconds (2.781 km/s)
Burn time 114sec
Fuel Solid
First stage
Engines 2 LE-X (LE-9)
Thrust 2,900kN
Specific impulse 432 seconds (4.24 km/s)
Burn time
Fuel LOX/LH2
Second stage
Engines 1 LE-5B
Thrust 137 kN (30,798 lbf)
Specific impulse 448 seconds (4.39 km/s)
Burn time
Fuel LOX/LH2

H3 Launch Vehicle is an expendable launch system in development in Japan. H3 rockets are liquid-propellant rockets with strap-on solid rocket boosters and are planned to be launched from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan. Mitsubishi and JAXA have been primarily responsible for design, manufacture, and operation of H3.

H3 (without boosters) is able to carry a payload of up to 2,100 kg to GTO, compared with the payload of 4,000-6,000 kg for the H-IIA. Its performance to LEO is 3000 kg to 800km high Sun-synchronous orbit . The first H3 without boosters is planned to launch in 2020, and with boosters in 2021.[1]


The development of H3 was authorized by Japanese government 17 May 2013.[2] The H3 launch vehicle is a launch vehicle being developed jointly by JAXA and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to launch the wide variety of commercial satellites. The H3 was designed with cheaper engines compared to H-IIA, so that manufacturing the new launch vehicle would be more cost-effective, with less risk, in a shorter period of time. JAXA was in charge of preliminary design, readiness of the ground facility, and the development of new technologies for the H3, while the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is responsible for manufacturing. The main emphasis in design is cost reduction, with planned launch costs for customers are in range 50-65 mln USD.[3]

Vehicle description[edit]

The H3 Launch Vehicle is a two-stage rocket. The first stage uses liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen as propellants and has none to 6 strap-on solid rocket boosters (SRB-A3) powered by polybutadiene. The first stage is powered by two LE-7B (LE-X) engines, similar to H-IIB. The body diameter (4.5 to 5m) is smaller than 5.2m body of H-IIB to reduce take-off weight and to enable takeoff without solid-fuel boosters. The second stage is powered by a single LE-5B engine. (tentatively). In future, upgrades of the upper stage are planned.


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