The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is reportedly working on a new core rocket with plans to put it into service in fiscal 2020, to strengthen its presence in commercial rocket market.

Estimated to cost around JPY190bn ($1.54bn), the project is a first major step by Japan over the past two decades after the lift-off of its first H-II rocket.

JAXA rocket project superintendent Masashi Okada was quoted by the Mainichi as saying: "It will be the culmination of Japanese rocket development."

According to the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry, Japan logged nine satellite launch orders last year.

"It will be the culmination of Japanese rocket development."

"Rocket launching is a transport business," Okada added.

"We have to be able to meet customers’ needs, such as price, credibility and flexibility (in terms of the timing for launch)."

With the new rocket, JAXA intends to reduce its launch costs to around JPY5bn ($40.7m) a time, or by 50%, making it significantly lower than with H-IIA.

The agency is currently focused on altering design and production system in order to reduce costs for a wide range of satellites.

It also intends to produce first-stage rockets powered by two and three engines, and will use it based on the weight of a satellite and its orbit.

"We’ll face a critical stage in development over the next year or two when technical tests begin," Okada added.

Last week, JAXA named its next-generation launch vehicle, H3, in partnership with prime contractor Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.