In 1970, the Institute of Space and Aeronautical Science of the University of Tokyo, the predecessor of ISAS, succeeded in launching Japan's first artificial satellite OHSUMI with the L (Lambda) rocket. Since then, the M rocket series developed for the launch of scientific satellites has undergone successive improvements over 25 years. The first generation M-4S was a four-stage type and kept its attitude by tail fin and spinning. Orbit injection was made by gravity turn. The second generation M-3C was a three-stage type, with enhanced second and third stages. The installation of the TVC (Thrust Vector Control) and side-jet systems on the second stage greatly improved orbit-injection accuracy. The extension of the first stage of the M-3C increased the payload capacity of the M-3H version. In the third-generation M-3S, the introduction of the TVC system to the first stage improved orbit-injection accuracy and eased launching limitations. For the fourth generation M-3SII, we redeveloped the entire rocket, except for the first stage, to upgrade overall performance. For the fifth generation M-V, we put together all our technologies cultivated throughout the M series rocket's history and succeeded in developing the significant large-scale launcher in order to meet the demands of space science. M-V rockets launched four earth-orbiting observational satellites as well as the Mars explorer NOZOMI and the asteroid explorer HAYABUSA. For their role in successful missions including planetary exploration, these all-solid-propellant launch vehicles were highly praised as “the best solid-propellant rockets in the world.” After the M-V-7 in September 2006, JAXA discontinued the M-V series for various reasons, however, and started developing a new solid-propellant rocket "Epsilon" which is smaller, higher functioning and better suited for launching small satellites.
History of Satellite Launch Vehicles
|1963||Start of research and development of M (Mu) rocket|
|1966||L-4S-1||Satellite was not put into orbit due to the abnormal flight of the 3rd stage caused by the improper separation of the 2nd stage.|
|1966||L-4S-2||Satellite was not put into orbit due to the ignition failure of the final stage.|
|1967||L-4S-3||Satellite was not put into orbit due to the ignition failure of the 3rd stage.|
|1969||L-4S-4||Satellite was not put into orbit because the 3rd stage was collided by the upper stage from behind.|
Japan's First Satellite
|1970||M-4S-1||Satellite was not put into orbit due to the malfunction of sequence after the 4th stage ignition.|
Japan's First Scientific Satellite
Earth Environment Observation
|1976||M-3C-3||Satellite was not put into orbit due to the control system failure.|
Earth's Magnetosphere Observation
Middle Atmosphere Observation
Halley's Comet Test Exploration
Halley's Comet Exploration
Satellite was not put into the planned orbit due to the 2nd stage failure and fell to the earth in its third orbiting. Ten months later, the satellite was found in Africa and provided reference data for reentry test.
Satellite was not put into orbit due to the deficit of the final velocity caused by the 1st stage combustion failure.