Japan launches new, more affordable rocket

Sept. 14, 2013 at 1:34 PM

TOKYO, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- Japan on Saturday launched the first of its new generation of rockets, which will make the county's space missions more affordable, officials said.

The Epsilon rocket, which is about half the size of its predecessor, cost about $37 million to develop, or about half as much as Japan's previous generations of rockets, the BBC reported.

The rocket was launched from southwestern Japan Saturday afternoon and was carrying a telescope that Jaxa, Japan's space program, says is the world's first space telescope that is able to remotely view planets such as Venus, Mars and Jupiter from its Earth orbit. The telescope was successfully released about 620 miles above the Earth's surface.

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