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Japan has launched its flagship H3 rocket in aclosely-watched 2nd test after failed debut last year

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TOKYO (AP) — A new Japanese flagship H3 rocket lifted off from a space station in southwestern Japan on Saturday…

TOKYO (AP) — A new Japanese flagship H3 rocket lifted off from a space station in southwestern Japan on Saturday in a key second test flight a year after its failed debut launch.

The H3 rocket blasted off from a launch pad at the Tanegashima Space Center two days after its originally scheduled liftoff which was delayed due to bad weather.

The rocket’s initial flight has been smooth as planned, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, said in its livestreaming. JAXA will have a news conference later in the day to provide further details.

The launch is closely watched as a test for Japan’s space development after H3 failed in its debut flight last March. JAXA and its main contractor Mitsubishi Heavy Industries have been developing H3 as a successor to its current mainstay, H-2A, which is set to retire after two more flights.

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