S-Series (rocket family)

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Comparison of Japanese sounding rockets

S-Series is a fleet of sounding rockets funded by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) that have been in service since the late 1960s. Manufactured by IHI Aerospace and operated by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS). The nomenclature of the S-Series rockets is the number of "S" indicates the number of stages, and the following number details the diameter of the craft in millimeters. For example the S-310 is a single stage rocket with a diameter of 310 mm.

On January 14, 2017 the SS-520-4 rocket attempted to become the lightest and smallest launch vehicle to send a payload to orbit,[1] but the rocket failed to reach orbit.[2]

S-160[edit]

A retired single stage Japanese sounding rocket. The S-160 has a maximum flight altitude of 80 kilometers, a launch mass of 100 kg, a diameter of 160 mm and a length of 4 meters. It was launched 13 times between 1965 and 1972.

S-160 Rocket (S-160JA-1). Exhibit in the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo

S-210[edit]

A retired single-stage sounding rocket made by JAXA and the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) to study the ionospheric, launched from Japan's Antarctic base. The first S-210 launch took place in 1966, and was retired in 1982. The first two launches of the full sized versions in took place between 1966–1967: they were both failures, with the motor case burning through. After redesign of the case and improved quality control the subsequent launch in August 1969 was successful. Following further successful tests in Japan in 1970–1971, the rocket was cleared for intensive use at the Japanese Antarctic base at Syowa in 1972–1978.[3]

  • Gross mass: 300 kg (660 lb)
  • Height: 5.20 m (17.00 ft)
  • Diameter: 0.21 m (0.68 ft)
  • Apogee: 110 km (60 mi)

It was built to replace the smaller S-160 rocket which was a proof-of-concept design rocket.

S-310[edit]

The S-310 is an active single-stage sounding rocket. Like its predecessor the S-210 it was developed for observations in Antarctica. The rocket is 310 mm in diameter, and can reach an altitude of 150 km.[4] The first flight of S-310 in January 1975 was successful, and it has been launched at Kagoshima Space Center at Uchinoura, Showa Station in Antarctica and Andøya in Sweden. As of January 1, 2017 the S-310 has completed 52 sub-orbital launches, with its most recent launch occurring on August 4, 2014.[5]

  • Gross mass: 700 kg (1,540 lb)
  • Height: 6.80 m (22.30 ft)
  • Diameter: 0.31 m (1.01 ft)
  • Apogee: 190 km (110 mi)
A full-scale model of the S-310 rocket No.1 set on a launcher. (JAXA/ISAS Uchinoura Space Center KS Center)

S-520[edit]

The S-520 was developed to replace the K-9M and K-10 type sounding rockets. It is an active single-stage sounding rocket capable of launching a 100 kg payload above 300 km and provided more than five minutes of micro-gravity flight for experiments. The first launch took place in 1980, and most recently flew on September 11, 2015.[6]

  • Gross mass: 2,300 kg (5,000 lb)
  • Unfueled mass: 400 kg (880 lb)
  • Burn time: 29 s
  • Height: 9.00 m (29.50 ft)
  • Diameter: 0.52 m (1.70 ft)
  • Apogee: 430 km (260 mi)

SS-520[edit]

The base configuration is a two-stage sounding rocket, which uses S-520 as the first stage. Unlike the previous version in the S-Series family of rockets the SS-520 are not primarily designed for scientific use in Antarctica, but rather as a test vehicle to explore the minimum limits of orbital launch vehicle. The rocket has a capability for launching a 140 kg payload to an altitude between 800 and 1000 km.[7] The first two sounding rockets were launched in 1998 and 2000 respectively and successfully carried their payload on sub-orbital missions.[8]

  • Gross mass: 2,600 kg (5,700 lb)
  • Height: 9.70 m (31.80 ft)
  • Diameter: 0.52 m (1.70 ft)
  • Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi)

SS-520-4[edit]

Is the fourth vehicle configuration of the SS-520, and this version includes a small third stage, which can put a 4 kg 3U CubeSat into a 180 km × 1500 km orbit with an inclination of 31°. It is engineered to place the payload into an orbital speed of more than 17,000 mph (27,000 kilometers per hour). It is a technology demonstration with no serial production planned.[9] Its maiden launch was supposed to have taken place on January 10, 2017, however it was delayed due to inclement weather (wind speeds).[10] It was launched January 14, 2017, but failed to reach orbit. If successful it would have become the smallest and lightest vehicle to ever put an object in orbit; surpassing the Japanese Lambda-4S.[11] Telemetry was lost 20 seconds in to flight, 3 minutes in to flight controllers sent an abort code commanding the second stage not to ignite after separation and the rocket fell into the ocean within the range safety area.[citation needed]

Specifications[edit]

  • Height – 31 feet (9.54 meters)
  • Weight – 2.9 tons (2.6 metric tons)
  • Diameter – 20 inches (52 centimeters)
  • Payload to Low-Earth Orbit – ~9 lbs (4 kg)

Launch History (SS-520 series)[edit]

Vehicle Serial Date (d/m/y) Launch Pad Payload Outcome
SS-520 SS-520-1 05/02/1998 Kagoshima Space Center ENA/EPS/LAP Success
SS-520 SS-520-2 04/12/2000 Svalbard Rocket Range Ion Outflow Success
SS-520 SS-520-3 Svalbard Rocket Range Planned
SS-520-4 SS-520-4 14/01/2017 Kagoshima Space Center TRICOM-1 Failed to reach orbit[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Satnews Publishers: Daily Satellite News". www.satnews.com. Retrieved 2017-01-12. 
  2. ^ a b "Experimental Launch of World's Smallest Orbital Space Rocket ends in Failure". Retrieved 2017-01-15. 
  3. ^ "S-210". www.astronautix.com. Retrieved 2017-01-12. 
  4. ^ "S-310". space.skyrocket.de. Retrieved 2017-01-12. 
  5. ^ "S-310". www.astronautix.com. Retrieved 2017-01-12. 
  6. ^ "S-520 Sounding Rockets". Institute of Space and Astronautical Science. 2003. Retrieved 8 November 2016. 
  7. ^ "SS-520 | Sounding Rockets | ISAS". ISAS. Retrieved 2017-01-11. 
  8. ^ "Smallest Orbital Launch Vehicle ready for Liftoff from Japan – Spaceflight101". spaceflight101.com. Retrieved 2017-01-11. 
  9. ^ "SS-520". space.skyrocket.de. Retrieved 2017-01-11. 
  10. ^ News, I4U. "JAXA Postpones Launch of World's Smallest Space Rocket due to Strong Wind". I4U News. Retrieved 2017-01-12. 
  11. ^ Clark, Stephen. "Launch of experimental Japanese rocket scrubbed – Spaceflight Now". Retrieved 2017-01-11. 

External links[edit]