Japan is planning to launch its new carrier rocket in summer of 2013, national space agency JAXA said, according to RIA Novosti.
JAXA’s goal is to have an inexpensive rocket to launch compact low-cost satellites into orbit. It will replace the M-5 rocket, a similar vehicle that carried out seven successful space missions between 1997 and 2006.
The three-stage solid-fuel launcher is designed to lift more than 2,600 pounds to low Earth orbit. The M-5 rocket could haul about 4,000 pounds to a similar orbit.
However, the launch of the Epsilon will cost about $48 million compared to the M-5, which carried a $70 million price tag for each launch.