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  • A conceptual study of Japan's rocket plane

    Paper ID



    • Yoji Shibato
    • Yukio Fukushima
    • Makoto Miwada


    National Space Development Agency of Japan






    The National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA) is developing the H-II Rocket, using the domestic technology acquired through the development of the H-I Rocket now in use. The design goal of the H-II is not only the payload capability (about four tons to the geostationary transfer orbit) to meet the demand in 1990s, but also the launch cost reduction, high reliability, and so on. On the other hand, the H-II Orbiting Plane (HOPE) is in the conceptual study phase. ’ The HOPE is an unmanned, winged vehicle to be launched on top of the H-II, and to be recovered to the runway after re-entry and gliding -in the atmosphere. The HOPE is scheduled to be in use in the late 1990s. After the era of H-II/HOPE, it is expected that the demand for the greater launch capability and for the much lower launch cost will arise. One solution is to adopt the hydrocarbon-fueled boosters with the H-II core vehicle. And the further solution is to develop the two-staged winged vehicle, which we call the "Rocket Plane,” based on the H-II/HOPE technology. The Rocket Plane is also an important step toward the ultimate space transportaion system, the aerospace plane.