Japan postpones MICHIBIKI No. 3 satellite launch over technical error


The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has again postponed the scheduled launch of its MICHIBIKI No. 3 geostationary orbit satellite, due to a technical glitch.

The issue was discovered by the H-IIA rocket, which was set to carry the satellite into space.

According to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), which was selected by JAXA to launch the satellite, a possible helium gas leak was detected before the launch, reported Reuters.

It was found that pressure levels were declining inside a tank of helium gas, which is used for cooling rocket engine valves.

"The issue was discovered by the H-IIA rocket, which was set to carry the satellite into space."

MHI is currently looking into the problem and will carry out additional examinations of the rocket’s propulsion system.

The MICHIBIKI No. 3 is likely to be launched by 17 August, according to the news agency.

This was the second time JAXA had been forced to delay the launch of the satellite. The agency had previously postponed the launch from 11 to 12 August due to poor weather conditions.

When launched, the MICHIBIKI No. 3 will be the third of the Quasi-Zenith Satellite System, the Japanese version of the US global positioning system (GPS).

The system will enable Japan to provide real-time location-related updates for auto-piloting cars or matters involving national security.

The country plans to launch the fourth satellite of its GPS system by the end of this year and provide services from the new system from next April.