Nissan is planning to introduce a small commercial solid propellant satellite launcher as early as 2001, with a booster developed from two current Japanese programmes. It would be the first private Japanese attempt to enter the commercial launcher market. No government funding is envisaged for the project, which will cost about ´10 billion ($74 million).

The booster will consist of solid motors developed for the J-1 and M-5 launchers operated by the National Space Development Agency (NASDA) and the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), respectively.

The J-1 consists of three Nissan solid motor stages, the first derived from the solid rocket strap-on booster for the NASDA H-2, and the other based on the first stage of the ISAS M-5.

Nissan is eyeing the low Earth orbit satellite launcher market because of the estimated growth in the use of small spacecraft for mobile communications, high rate data transmissions and messaging satellite services.

The other Japanese commercial launcher venture is being undertaken by Rocket Systems, a partially government-funded enterprise which markets the H-2 Plus launcher, an uprated H-2.

Source: Flight International