Establishment of KSC and Former ISAS

With the improvements in rocket performance, the Japan Sea was found to be too narrow and a new launch site was sought along the Pacific coast. At last, Uchinoura in Kagoshima Prefecture was chosen, and in 1962 construction commenced for a new site, the Kagoshima Space Center (KSC). The area around KSC, 71 ha in total, is mostly hilly and offers a broad view eastward.

In 1964, the Institute of Aeronautics and the rocket group of the Institute of Industrial Science of University of Tokyo were merged into a new institute, the Institute of Space and Aeronautical Science (the former ISAS) attached to the University of Tokyo. ISAS developed several types of sounding rockets among which S-210, S-310, S-520, K-9M and L-3H contributed largely to the progress of Japanese space science. All of them were launched from KSC. Major sounding rockets, which are now employed for the purpose of space observation, are the S-310 and S-520. A small rocket MT-135 has also been developed for meteorological observation.

ISAS developed a two-stage K-9M type rocket, following the K-6 and K-8. The K-9M series was the most frequently employed sounding rocket because of its convenient size and capability. Eighty two K-9M's were launched with a wide range of scientific objectives.

The S-310 rocket is a single-stage sounding rocket of 310 mm in diameter which was developed mainly for use at the Showa Base in Antarctica by Japan's Antarctic Expedition Team of the National Institute of Polar Research.

The S-520 rocket is a single-stage sounding rocket with fairly flexible payload capability of 520 mm in diameter. In place of the two-stage K-9M, the S-520 is playing a leading role among current sounding rockets in Japan.

Then came the L (Lambda) series. The L-project was supposed to be a multi-purpose sounding rocket which could reach the inner Van Allen belt beyond 1,000 km altitude. It was started in 1960 and attained its goal by a successful flight of L-3-2 in January, 1965. And in July 1966, L-3H-2 cleared 1,800 km summit altitude.

Under the Limelight ----The Kappa Era INDEX The Fishermen's Problem