Japan's National Space Development Agency has postponed the first operational mission of the new H2A satellite launch vehicle from July/August next year to November at the earliest. The flight, the third by the launcher, will carry the Advanced Observation Satellite (Adeos 2) and three microsatellites, including the Australian-built FedSat 1.

The delay to the H2A-3 flight is intended to allow further analysis of the first test flights. The second test flight of the H2A is planned for 31 January, carrying the MDS-1 technology satellite.

The fourth flight in 2003 will launch the first Data Relay Test Satellite and an Unmanned Space Experiment Recovery System, while the fifth mission will carry the Multi-functional Transport Satellite (MTSAT 1R) meteorology and navigation satellite. Delivery of the Space Systems/Loral-built MTSAT is believed to have been delayed six months by tighter US controls on technology exports. MTSAT 1 was lost in the failure of the original H2 booster in 1999.


Source: Flight International