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MHI Launch Services Top > Launch Services > H-IIA Launch Services Explained

H-IIA Launch Services Explained

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries are launch vehicle manufacture and launch services provider to ensure the "secure" delivery of a customer's payload (satellite) to "a target orbit" on "a target date." These services commenced in 2007 with the execution of Flight No. 13 of the H-IIA Launch Vehicle. We started the Launch Services of the H-IIB in 2013. This results in expending our launch services activities.

The greatest strength of MHI's Launch Services is their comprehensive scope. The services coordinate the entire process from launch vehicle manufacture to interface between the spacecraft and Launch Vehicle, program management, and execution of the launch campaign.
Satellite manufacturers and satellite operators deal directly with MHI engineers, the people most familiar with MHI's launch vehicle technologies and systems. This direct liaison enables consistent and accurate judgment throughout the process.
MHI continues to make reliability the core of its Launch Service with a focus on usability from the customer's viewpoint.

Three Objectives of the Launch Services and Our History of Successes

1. Usability for customers

As a result of their diverse experience in launch vehicle development and launch operations, MHI's expert engineers offer comprehensive services to fully coordinate every step of the process, from launch vehicle manufacture to adjustment of the launch-vehicle-to-satellite interface, support for satellite preparations at the launch site, and launch campaign.
A Program Manager serves as an overall supervisor for the Launch Services and assigns a Mission Manager to take charge of services for each customer's satellite as a point of contact. The Mission Manager is responsible for the contract, service operations, and schedule management for individual programs and works closely with the launch vehicle manufacturing and launch operation teams to effectively coordinate the various steps necessary for a reliable launch.
The system takes full advantage of MHI's outstanding knowledge, experience, and teamwork to provide customers with the highest quality service.

MHI is planning to continue using the H-IIA and the H-IIB, the world's most reliable launch vehicle we believe, for its Launch Services over the next ten years. Working in cooperation with related government agencies, we will continue enhancing the usability and competitiveness of the H-IIA.

Improvement of H-IIA performance

The H-IIA Launch Vehicle has performance of 50 minute flight, counting from the time of launch. This duration depends on the battery life of the second stage. Generally, if the product life can be extended to about 5 hours, the separation point of a satellite can be shifted from a near-perigee point, which the shorter product life dictates, to the near-apogee point of a geostationary transfer orbit. When achieved, the vehicle will require less acceleration to maneuver to the satellite's geostationary orbit. This, in turn, will enable us to launch heavier satellites than the current and furthermore and to extend the geostationary lives of satellites.

Improved price competitiveness

Understandably, price is one of the most important issues in selecting a launch service provider. This motivates us to continuously work with partners to lower costs and promise customers the most attractive pricing possible. One of our most effect strategies for strengthening the competitiveness of the H-IIA Launch Vehicle is to streamline launch site operations while maintaining reliability and reducing costs.

2. Extreme launch reliability for failsafe delivery to the target orbit

The H-IIA Launch Vehicle has an extremely high orbit-injection accuracy and the versatility to launch satellites into various types of orbit.

3. Secure delivery on the target date

A launch that isn't rescheduled after the start of launch operations is called a "punctual launch." Every H-IIA and H-IIB Launch Vehicle launched since H-IIA Flight No. 9 has been launched on time, except a small number postponed by weather. This has earned MHI a reputation for schedule maintenance.
The launch window, the window of time when a launch is possible, varies according to the payload's target orbit. In some cases, the launch window is about two hours. In other cases, when the payload is to be delivered to a moving target such as the moon or the ISS, the launch must be executed within a one-second level of accuracy. We meet this stringent launch condition and are garnering a history of reliable launches.

Flight No./
Planned Launch Date Actual Launch Date
Cause for Delay
H-IIA No.33/
10:20:00 a.m. March 17, 2017 10:20:00 a.m. March 17, 2017
On Time
H-IIA No.32/
4:44:00 p.m. January 24, 2017 4:44:00 p.m. January 24, 2017
On Time
H-IIB No.6/
10:26:47 p.m. December 9, 2016 10:26:47 p.m. December 9, 2016
On Time
H-IIA No.31/
3:20:00 p.m. November 2, 2016 3:20:00 p.m. November 2, 2016
On Time
H-IIA No.30/
5:45:00 p.m. February 17, 2016 5:45:00 p.m. February 17, 2016
On Time
H-IIA No.29/
3:50:00 p.m. November 24, 2015 3:50:00 p.m. November 24, 2015
On Time
H-IIB No.5/
8:50:49 p.m. August 19, 2015 8:50:49 p.m. August 19, 2015
On Time
H-IIA No.28/
10:21 a.m. March 26, 2015 10:21 a.m. March 26, 2015
On Time
H-IIA No.27/
10:21 a.m. February 1, 2015 10:21 a.m. February 1, 2015
On Time
H-IIA No.26/
Round trip between Earth and an asteroid
1:22:04 p.m. December 3, 2014 1:22:04 p.m. December 3, 2014
On Time
H-IIA No.25/
2:16 - 6:16 p.m. October 7, 2014 2:16 p.m. October 7, 2014
On Time
H-IIA No.23/
3:37 - 4:37 a.m. February 28, 2014 3:37 a.m. February 28, 2014
On Time
H-IIB No.4/
4:48:46 a.m. August 4, 2013 4:48:46 a.m. August 4, 2013
On Time
H-IIA No. 22/
January 27, 2013 January 27, 2013
On Time
H-IIB No.3/
11:06:18 a.m. July 21, 2012 11:06:18 a.m. July 21, 2012
On Time
H-IIA No. 21/
1:39 a.m. May 18, 2012 1:39 a.m. May 18, 2012
On Time
H-IIA No. 20/
December 12, 2011 December 12, 2011
On Time
H-IIA No. 19/
August 28, 2011 September 23, 2011
equipment anomaly
H-IIB No.2/
2:37:57 p.m. January 22, 2011 2:37:57 p.m. January 22, 2011
On Time
H-IIA No. 18/
Quasi-Zenith Orbit
8:17 p.m. September 11,2010 8:17 p.m. September 11,2010
On Time
H-IIA No. 17/
Venus Transfer Orbit
May 21, 2010 6:58:22 a.m. May 21, 2010
On Time
H-IIA No. 16/
November 28, 2009 November 28, 2009
On Time
H-IIB No.1/
2:01:46 a.m. September 11, 2009 2:01:46 a.m. September 11, 2009
On Time
H-IIA No. 15/
12:54 p.m. January 23, 2009 12:54 p.m. January 23, 2009
On Time
H-IIA No. 14/
4:20 p.m. February 23, 2008 5:55 p.m. February 23, 2008
Strong Ground Wind, etc.
H-IIA No. 13/
Lunar Transfer Orbit
10:31:01 a.m. September 14, 2007 10:31:01 a.m. September 14, 2007
On Time
H-IIA No. 12/
February 24, 2007 February 24, 2007
On Time
H-IIA No. 11/
3:32 p.m. December 18, 2006 3:32 p.m. December 18, 2006
On Time
H-IIA No. 10/
September 11, 2006 September 11, 2006
On Time
H-IIA No. 9/
3:27 p.m. February 18, 2006 3:27 p.m. February 18, 2006
On Time

Service Contents

MHI provides customers a single contact point for the arrangement of simple, complete, and consistent services at every mission phase, from pre-contract coordination to the actual launch. One of our roles, as a provider of launch services, is to coordinate between manufacturers, insurance companies, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), relevant ministries, and others involved.

MHI entrusts subcomponents of the H-IIA launch vehicle to related manufacturers and works with insurers to arrange launch insurance based on the customer's needs. We also handle regulatory items related to radio waves and dangerous objects by filing applications for approvals with the relevant ministries. Range safety/control operations, downrange operations, launch facility maintenance, and many other operations are entrusted to JAXA for the strongest assurance of reliable launches conformance with launch schedules.

Services Chart

  • MHI H-II Launch Services Program Management Services Chart

MHI's Main Services

Program Management

MHI can generally launch a customer's satellite about two years after signing a contract. Once the launch vehicle is built according to the satellite specifications, we test it by various analyses, inspections, and reviews. Program management provides comprehensive control for schedule assurance and a reliable launch.

To provide several launches per year, we often need to make adjustments with our facilities and personnel assigned to manufacturing, testing, and the launches themselves. We can also modify our schedules if the manufacture of a launch vehicle or satellite is delayed for any reason. Once the customer's satellite is delivered to the JAXA Tanegashima Space Center, we support work on the satellite side and coordinate the interfaces between the satellite and launch vehicle.

Mission Integration

Every customer's satellites are different. To guarantee a reliable launch, we first identify the specifications for the size and mass of the satellite, the target orbit, the launch date, and hundreds of other conditions and requirements. In the mission integration phase, we consider the hardware and software specifications for the launch vehicle and make technological adjustments.

Launch Vehicle Manufacturing

MHI manufactures launch vehicles according to the requirements identified during mission integration. Once we actually start building the launch vehicle, we conduct repeated reviews and tests to evaluate conformance with the design objectives and quality requirements.

To ensure the ongoing success of its H-IIA launch services, MHI performs repeated quality evaluations for every flight. The personnel handling the inspections are independent from the engineers engaged in routine design, manufacturing, and quality assurance. Specialized design supervisors oversee the propulsion system, electrical system, and other launch vehicle systems to confirm that that the technological requirements are met for all processes from manufacturing onward. They complete their work independently and collaboratively from a cross-sectoral approach to confirm that every H-IIA system is ready for launch. The process continues from the first stage, the manufacture of H-IIA Test Flight No.1, and new results and viewpoints on different themes are collected for each flight.

Mission Modification

Once mated with the payload adapter, the component linking it with the launch vehicle, the customer's satellite is encapsulated in the payload fairing and the head of the launch vehicle is put into place. In the mission modification phase, we select and prepare a payload adapter and payload fairing compatible with the satellite to be launched. In some cases, we need to prepare more than one payload adapter and payload fairing for a satellite of a certain size or with certain specifications. Hundreds of the preparations necessary to avoid launch troubles depend on the satellite specifications--tasks as routine as identification of the door position for maintenance work on the payload fairing.

Launch Operations

Our unit is responsible for controlling and overseeing the actual launches. On launch day we complete our final checks on the status of the satellite, the launch vehicle, the weather, and the preparations and progress for tracking control and range safety/control operations handled by JAXA. Then we make the final decision on whether to go ahead with the launch.

Role of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

MHI executes its launches from the JAXA Tanegashima Space Center.

JAXA is in charge of the launch range safety/control operations. JAXA checks for marine vessel traffic in the ocean along the planned flight path of the H-IIA and the H-IIB launch vehicle and the safety of the launch range before giving the final go-ahead for the launch.

JAXA is also responsible for maintaining the launch facilities.

After launch, JAXA keeps track of the H-IIA flight status on radar via tracking control stations in Japan and overseas. The agency plays a crucial role in launch safety.

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