Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Exhibits the QZS-2 Launch Vehicle Core Frame
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) exhibited to members of the press the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 34 core frame, which will be used to launch the second Quasi-Zenith Satellite (QZS-2), on April 19 at the Tobishima Plant in Tobishima Village, Ama District, Aichi Prefecture. “Core frame” refers to the first- and second-stage frames and engines, excluding the solid rocket booster (SRB-A) and payload fairing (the nose cone that protects the satellite).
The core frame will be brought to Tanegashima Island
Before the exhibition, Mr. Koki Nimura (fellow, senior chief engineer, Integrated Defense & Space Systems, MHI), who is in charge of the H-IIA and H-IIB launches, gave an overview of the launch plan. He announced that the frame configuration is a H2A202 launch vehicle utilizing two SRBs. The launch will be implemented with almost the same flight plan as QZS-1, which was launched on the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 18 in 2010. Functional tests have already been completed for the core frame, which will be shipped via sea and land from the Tobishima Plant to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) Tanegashima Space Center, the launch site.
The world’s first countdown featuring children
Next, satellite operator Quasi-Zenith Satellite System Services Inc. (QSS) explained Our Countdown, an event that will be held to cheer on the launch. Mr. Hidetoshi Jindou of NEC Corporation, which is participating in QSS as a representative corporation, explained that this event - the world’s first launch countdown featuring children - will involve an online broadcast of launch countdown videos shot with more than 1,700 people in 58 groups across Japan. He also showed a short excerpt of the video to be played on the day of the launch.
He expressed the significance of this event as follows: “Because the Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS) will be useful in a broad range of citizen life, we hope this inspiring launch event will make children - who will bear the future on their shoulders - more interested in and deepen their understanding of space, science, and Japan’s excellent technical skills.” Elementary and middle schools are being recruited to participate in a similar event for the QZS-3 launch.
A keen sense of support and expectations
Mr. Nimura shared his impression of the Our Countdown video, saying, “I keenly sense that we are supported by the regular citizens and are the target of great expectations. During the launch, our operations are enclosed in a place away from regular citizens, and we cannot feel their real emotions regarding the launch as they watch public viewings or other events. I am even more motivated after watching this video.”