Japan is to cancel its expensive J-1 solid-propellant small satellite launcher, and plans to replace it with a version using US and Russian components.

The Advanced Technology Proving Rocket will be powered by liquid-propellant engines. Its first flight is due in 2003. The first stage will incorporate the liquid-oxygen and kerosene propellant tanks from the Lockheed Martin Atlas III and will operate a Russian MK-33 engine marketed for the Russian Samara company by Gencorp Aerojet. The second stage will use Japanese technology, possibly a new liquid-methane engine.

Source: Flight International