Japan is scheduling the maiden launch of the Galaxy Express commercial low Earth-orbit satellite booster from Tanegashima in 2006. The 43m- (141ft-) long GX booster will combine a modified Russian NK-33 engine, and propellant tanks provided by Aerojet and Lockheed Martin.

The Galaxy Express consortium, made up of Fuji Heavy Industries, Ishikawajima-Marima Heavy Industries, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi, was established in March. The partners hope that the Japanese government will invest two thirds of the $400 million development costs.

Source: Flight International