Himawari 9 launched from Japan!

Himawari 9, Japan’s latest weather satellite, has been launched into orbit by the H-2 rocket from scenic Tanegashima:

Himawari 9 will head up to geosynchronous orbit, where it will sit as an on-orbit spare for Himawari 8.

Meanwhile, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, maker of the H-2 rocket, has announced their intention to offer the H-2 on the commercial launch market.  It’s going to be interesting to see how things heat up over the next few years; it almost starts to seem as if we may have too many commercial providers.  But if nothing else, it will create competition, and that’s usually good for business.  It’s going to be a fun few years for space geeks!

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