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Japan's New Rocket Lifts Off

  • VOA News

An Epsilon rocket blasts off from the launching pad at the Uchinoura Space Center in Kimotsuki town, Kagoshima prefecture, in this photo taken by Kyodo, Sept. 14, 2013.

An Epsilon rocket blasts off from the launching pad at the Uchinoura Space Center in Kimotsuki town, Kagoshima prefecture, in this photo taken by Kyodo, Sept. 14, 2013.

Japan has launched a new rocket that it hopes will be a less expensive and more efficient way of sending satellites into space.

The three-stage, solid fuel Epsilon lifted off successfully Saturday from a space center in southern Japan.

The Epsilon was carrying the SPRINT A, the first space telescope designed for remote observation of other planets.

Japan hopes the rocket, launched with conventional laptop computers in a pared-down command center, will become competitive in the global space business.

The French news agency, AFP, reports only eight workers were assigned to the blastoff operation.

Lift-off had originally been scheduled for two weeks ago, but the attempt was suspended with just 19 seconds to go due to a computer glitch.

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