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  • [FOCUS]Integrated Defense & Space Systems
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  • [FOCUS]Machinery, Equipment & Infrastructure

Image:Integrated Defense & Space Systems

FOCUSIntegrated Defense & Space Systems

Satellite Launch Services for Future Space Development

The satellite launch services of MHI have achieved a strong global reputation thanks to the remarkable success rate of its H-II A/B rockets and on-time service—despite the diffi culties. In fi scal 2014, we will embark on the development of a new fl agship launch vehicle as the prime contractor, employing technologies that will open up the next era of space development.

photo:The 24th H-IIA, launched on May 24, 2014

The 24th H-IIA, launched on May 24, 2014

Image:Key Capital, Business Activities, Value Created


  • Shift in the main thrust of the Basic Plan on Space Policy from development to utilization
  • Growing satellite launch demand especially in emerging markets

The Basic Plan on Space Policy, unveiled by the Japanese government in January 2013, outlined a shift in Japan’s space policy from development to the utilization of space. The plan strongly promotes initiatives related directly to enhancing the quality of life for the Japanese nation, such as data communications, satellite broadcasting, mapping and resource exploration, and the use of the global positioning system (GPS) for navigation. In addition to the ability to manufacture and operate satellites for such purposes as telecommunications and broadcasting, positioning, and remote sensing, such ambitions require enhanced satellite launch capabilities as well as maintaining the Japanese industrial and technological base to support them.

Overseas demand is growing in Southeast Asian and other emerging countries for the launch of communication satellites and others, providing a growing number of opportunities in the business of launching commercial satellites.

Key Capital

  • H-IIA rocket, with increased launch capability
  • Track record of highly successful on-time launches

For around the past 40 years, MHI has played a key role in Japanese space policy by developing and manufacturing the rockets for launching satellites. At present, our current flagship launch vehicle is the H-IIA rocket. After receiving a technology transfer from JAXA*1, MHI has handled the entire process from manufacture to launch since the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No.13, which was launched in September 2007. By working with JAXA on improvements of the H-IIA’s second stage, we are going to succeed in enhancing our satellite launch capability, which is closer to geostationary orbit than ever, placing them in geostationary transfer orbit. Through this improvement, we are able to support a variety of demand from customers throughout the world.

The H-IIA rocket is highly reliable, boasting a current*2 success rate of approximately 96% (23 of 24 launches). Furthermore, launches continue to be performed at the appointed time and date.

*1.JAXA: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. An independent administrative agency in charge of Japan’s space science research, aerospace technology research, and space development research.

*2.As of July 2014


  • Achieve continued launch successes and ongoing improvements to production effi ciency on the H-II A/B launch vehicles
  • Develop a new and internationally competitive fl agship launch vehicle

By ensuring Japan’s autonomous launch capabilities and maintaining its industrial base, increase the launch vehicle’s contribution to space development, and enhance our presence

These H-IIA launch capabilities, as well as to reliably launch as planned, have earned a high reputation with Telesat Holdings Inc., the world’s fourth-largest satellite operator. MHI has received an order to provide launch services for Telesat’s Telstar 12 VANTAGE satellite. The launch is scheduled to take place in late 2015 and marks the fi rst time MHI has received an order to launch a commercial satellite. In May 2014, MHI received its fi rst order from a domestic satellite operator, signing an agreement with SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation, which is also the world’s fi fth-largest satellite operator. Building on the momentum of these orders from two of the world’s leading operators, we look forward to actively cultivating the market for satellite launch services in Japan and overseas.

At present, MHI launches between two and three rockets per year that are capable of launching satellites. In perspective, industrywide launches are currently being carried out at a rate of 20 to 30 per year, buoyed by energetic demand from emerging countries. To take advantage of this business opportunity, MHI believes that in addition to the H-IIA launch vehicle, building up a solid track record for the H-IIB—added to the lineup in 2013—will be essential. At the same time, we will work toward increased manufacturing effi ciency and cost competitiveness.

Furthermore, in March 2014 MHI was selected by JAXA to serve as the prime contractor in charge of the development and provider of launch services for a new fl agship launch vehicle. MHI intends to commence development in fi scal 2014, aiming for a maiden fl ight in 2020. The new launch vehicle represents the fi rst time a private-sector company has been called upon to play a leading role from the development stage. MHI will take full charge of all aspects of the new launch vehicle’s development, manufacture, and launch services, working in cooperation with JAXA and other private-sector companies. The new launch vehicle is to be based on the current H-IIA and H-IIB rockets, incorporating a wealth of the latest technologies, and be internationally competitive, simultaneously achieving supreme reliability and a low-cost structure.

While continuing to build on a stable launch history for its existing rocket lineup, MHI will push forward with the development of this new launch vehicle, shoring up its technological base in the fi eld of space development. These efforts are directly linked with ensuring Japan’s autonomous launch capabilities and promoting the nation’s industrial base. Going forward, MHI aims to further enhance its presence and contribute to worldwide space development and utilization, thereby meeting increasingly diverse industry needs.

Key Projects
Announcement Delivery Project
May 2014 MHI Achieves Successful Launch of the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 24
May 2014 Fiscal 2016 MHI Receives Order for Satellite Launch Services from SKY Perfect JSAT
March 2014 MHI Selected by JAXA as Prime Contractor in Charge of Development and Manufacture of New Flagship Launch Vehicle (Responsibility for Space Transportation Services Also Included)
September 2013 Late 2015 MHI Receives Order to Launch Telesat’s New High Throughput Satellite, Telstar 12 VANTAGE (First Order for Launch Services Involving a Commercial Satellite)
June 2013 MHI and Arianespace S.A. Conclude memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Cooperation in Commercial Space Rocket Launches

VOICEWe judged MHI’s satellite launch service to be superior to that of its competitors in a number of ways.

photo:Daniel S. Goldberg President and CEO, Telesat Holdings Inc.
Daniel S. Goldberg
President and CEO, Telesat Holdings Inc.

Telesat selected MHI to launch its new Telstar 12 VANTAGE satellite after an extensive evaluation of the H-IIA launch vehicle, including the planned enhancements. MHI scored highest on our selection criteria that took into account the fl exibility of the launch schedule, vehicle performance, technical and operational expertise, and overall commercial terms. Telesat is confi dent that our strong record of innovation will be enhanced by our partnership with MHI, and we look forward to the successful Telstar 12 VANTAGE launch mission.

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