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Spaceports Around the World:

Japan's Tanegashima and Kagoshima Spaceports

Japan spaceport map Kagoshima on Kyushu Island

On February 11, 1970, Japan became the fourth nation to launch an artificial moon to orbit above Earth. The satellite was named Ohsumi. It rode atop a rocket called Lambda 4S-5 in a launch from Kagoshima.

In 1962, Japan started building its Kagoshima Space Center on leveled hilltops facing the Pacific Ocean at Uchinoura on the southern tip of Kyushu Island. It was used first for atmospheric sounding rockets and meteorological rockets, then later for space satellite launches.

Japan's first six satellites were launched from Kagoshima. The large M-5 orbital rocket was first launched there in 1997. Hundreds of suborbital and two dozen orbital launches have been made.

Tanegashima Island

Japan's National Space Development Agency (NASDA) operates the Tanegashima Space Center orbital launch site on the southeastern tip of Tanegashima Island 650 miles southwest of Tokyo.

The complex's northern Osaki Launch Site fires H2 and J1 rockets and has static test facilities for liquid-fuel rocket engines. The southern Takesaki Launch Site fires sounding rockets and carries out static firings of H2 rocket solid-fuel boosters. It has the H2 Range Control Center.

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