H3 (rocket)

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Function Launch vehicle
Manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Country of origin Japan
Height 63 m[1]
Diameter 5.2 m[1]
Stages 2
Payload to
GTO ⊿V=1500m/s
> 6500 kg[1]
Launch history
Status In development
Launch sites LA-Y, Tanegashima
First flight FY2020 (planned)[1]
No. boosters 0-4
Thrust 9,220 kN (2,070,000 lbf)[citation needed]
Specific impulse 283.6 s (2.781 km/s)[citation needed]
Burn time 114 s[citation needed]
Fuel Solid
First stage
Engines 2 or 3 LE-9
Thrust 2,900 kN (650,000 lbf)[citation needed]
Specific impulse 432 seconds (4.24 km/s)[citation needed]
Fuel LOX/LH2
Second stage
Engines 1 LE-5B[citation needed]
Thrust 137 kN (31,000 lbf)[citation needed]
Specific impulse 448 seconds (4.39 km/s)[citation needed]
Fuel LOX/LH2

The 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 the JAXA have been primarily responsible for the design, manufacture, and operation of the H3.

As of July 2015, it is planned that the minimum configuration is to carry a payload of up to 4 tonnes into sun-synchronous orbit for about 5 billion yen, and the maximum configuration is to carry more than 6.5 tonnes into geostationary transfer orbit.[1]

The first H3 without boosters is planned to launch in fiscal year 2020, and with boosters in FY2021.[2][1]


The development of H3 was authorized by Japanese government 17 May 2013.[3] The H3 rocket is being developed jointly by JAXA and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to launch a wide variety of commercial satellites. 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 development of new technologies for the H3, while 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.[4]

Vehicle description

The H3 Launch Vehicle is a two-stage rocket. The first stage uses liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen as propellants and has none to 4 strap-on solid rocket boosters (derived from SRB-A3) powered by polybutadiene. The first stage is powered by two or three LE-9 engines which uses expander bleed cycle similar to LE-5B.[5] The second stage is powered by a single engine which is an improved LE-5B.[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 新型基幹ロケットの開発状況について (PDF) (in Japanese). July 2, 2015. Retrieved July 8, 2015. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/12/25/national/science-health/jaxa-plans-to-test-new-large-rocket-from-2020/#.U3KqNIGSzcw
  3. https://www.chinapost.com.tw/asia/japan/2013/05/19/378945/Japan-may.htm
  4. http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=21491.15
  5. "Development of the LE-X Engine" (PDF). Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Technical Review. December 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 2020年:H3ロケットの目指す姿 (PDF) (in Japanese). JAXA. July 8, 2015. Retrieved July 8, 2015. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links