NOTE: AIAA only page editing

H-IIA rocket carrying the Global Precipitation Measurement Core Observatory rolls out to launch pad 1 of the Tanegashima Space Center, Feb. 27, 2014.
H-IIB rocket carrying the H-II Transfer Vehicle on an International Space Station resupply mission at launch pad 2 of the Tanegashima Space Center, August 19, 2015.
JAXA/Mitsubishi Heavy Industries

MHI began providing launch services in 2007 with the H-IIA, and withH-IIB Launch Vehicle in 2013 upon the technology transferred from Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Our greatest strength is that we provide total support from contract to launch and we will deliver satellites to any place on the target date. We strive to improve our customer satisfaction with the H3 Launch Vehicle in development with JAXA.
H-IIA & H-IIB Vehicle Descriptions


General Description


H-IIB rocket launches H-II Transfer Vehicle on an International Space Station resupply mission from launch pad 2 of the Tanegashima Space Center, Sept. 22, 2018. | Source: https://spaceflight101.com/events/h-iib-htv-7/

National Origin


Main Organization


Japan’s H-IIA is derived from the earlier H-II, with modifications to reduce launch costs and increase performance. The cost has been reduced by modifying the vehicle for easier manufacturing and launch operations, increasing the launch rate, and purchasing some components from lower-cost foreign suppliers. The H-IIA family includes several variants, each consisting of two cryogenic core stages with different combinations of strap-on boosters. The H-IIB was used to launch the H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station. H-IIB made its first flight in 2009, and made a total of nine flights until it was retired in May 2020 with no failures. JAXA has developed the H3 with cheaper engines than the H-IIA, so that manufacturing the new launch vehicle would be faster, less risky, and more cost effective. The main emphasis in design is cost reduction, with planned launch costs for customers in the range of US $50-65 million. The first flight of the H3 is planned for 2022, and the last flight of the H-IIA is planned for late 2023, after which the H-II family will be retired as a whole.

Flight Rate

4–6 per year

Estimated Launch Price

The following costs were published by NASDA, and represent launch costs for government missions, not necessarily prices

that would be charged for commercial launches. They are based on an assumed exchange rate of 120 yen to the dollar.

H-IIA 202: 8.5 billion yen ($70 million)
H-IIA 204: 9.9 billion yen ($83 million)
H3: 6 - 7.8 billion yen ($50-65 million


Launch Sites Yoshinobu Launch Complex at Tanegashima Space Center
Location 30.4°N, 131.0°E
Available Inclinations .5–100 deg

TanegashimaSpaceCenter-graphic1The Tanegashima Space Center is located on the southeastern coast of Tanegashima Island, Kagoshima Prefecture. Tanegashima Island, which is 58 km (36 mi) long with a population of about 40,000, is located 40 km (25 mi) off the southern coast of Kyushu, the southernmost of the four major islands in the Japanese chain. The facilities include the Takesaki Range for sounding rockets and the Osaki Range for space launch vehicles. The center also includes the Masuda Tracking and Data Acquisition Station, the Masuda, Uchugaoka, and Tanegashima radar stations, and three optical tracking stations, as well as test firing facilities for solid and liquid engines. The center occupies approximately 8.6 km2 (3.3 mi2) of land and is the largest launch site in Japan. The major tasks of the center are to check, assemble, and launch rockets, and to perform tracking and control after launch. The center is Japan’s primary site for launching applications satellites and test firing solid rocket motors and liquid rocket engines. As a result of objections from fishing unions to the hazards associated with the launches over their fishing grounds, launch windows are restricted to two launch periods each year. In the past these periods lasted from 15 January to 28 February and 1 August to 15 September. However, JAXA has negotiated an increase in the duration of the available launch periods, to support higher flight rates. The new periods cover 1 January through 28 February, and 22 July through 30 September. In addition, two 60-day periods encompassing June to July and November to December are available as launch windows for high-priority launches such as planetary or international missions.

Launch Facilities

TanegashimaSpaceCenter-Graphic2Construction of the Yoshinobu Launch Complex for launching H-II rockets at the Osaki Range was begun in 1985. The major facilities in the complex are the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), the mobile launcher (ML), two launch pads, the blockhouse, and propellants and high-pressure gas storage. Adjacent to those facilities, a test stand was constructed to conduct firing tests of the LE-7 and LE- 7A. An x-ray computer tomography facility is available for nondestructive inspections of SRBs. Launch operations are controlled from within the octagonal Yoshinobu blockhouse and directed from the Takesaki Range Control Center. The VAB is a 66-m (215-ft) high structure with two bays for vertical stacking of launch vehicles. The second bay was added for the H-IIA program to support the planned increase in flight rates. While the H-II program performed only vehicle integration and basic checkout in the VAB with most tests performed after rollout to the launch pad, the H-IIA is designed to perform all tests in the VAB and is rolled out to the pad less than 24 h before launch. The launch vehicle is assembled on the deck of one of two MLs. Major umbilicals to the vehicle and payload are routed through service masts mounted on the ML. When vehicle integration and testing are complete and the spacecraft has been mated to the launch vehicle, the booster is carried by the ML along a 500-m (1600-ft) route to the launch pad. There are two launch pads at the Yoshinobu Launch Complex. Launch Pad 1, built for the H-II program, includes a large Pad Service Tower (PST). The PST stands 75 m (245 ft) high. It consists of a fixed service structure and two rotating service structures that can open to both sides before launch. The fixed service structure includes work platforms at different levels to access the vehicle, and a 20-ton bridge crane to lift the encapsulated fairing and payload into place. Launch Pad 2, built for the H-IIA, is a simple “clean pad” design with no access tower, reflecting the simplified operations sequence for the H-IIA. All interfaces to the launch vehicle are provided by the umbilical masts on the ML.

Production and Launch Operations


Primary Missions

Intermediate GTO and LEO payloads


H-IIA: Operational. First launch in 2001 for 202 configuration, 2006 for 204 configuration. H-IIB: Retired. First flight in 2009, last flight in 2020. H3: In development. First launch planned for 2023.


A single-payload 4-m fairing is assumed for the performance given below, unless otherwise noted. A standard 100-kg adapter is accounted for. Performance for polar orbits is higher for launches in winter than in the summer. Winter values are shown. Performance shown reflects full-length first-stage nozzle. Performance on initial launches with short nozzle is slightly lower.

300 km (162 nmi), 30.4 deg H2A202: 10,000 kg (22,000 lbm)
H2A204: 15,000 kg (33,000 lbm)
185 km (100 nmi), 90 deg ?
Space Station Orbit: 407 km (220 nmi), 51.6 deg H2A202: 8400 kg (18,500 lbm)
Sun-Synchronous Orbit: 800 km (432 nmi), 98.6 deg 5-m payload fairings
H2A202: 4350 kg (9590 lbm)
GTO: 250 36,226 km (135 19,560 nmi), 28.5 deg H2A202: 4200 kg (9300 lbm)
H2A204: 6000 kg (13,200 lbm)
Geostationary Orbit No capability
Flight Record (through 31 July 2021)

The performance capability quoted below includes the spacecraft mass plus the mass of any required adapter and/or dual payload structures.

H-II H-IIA H-IIB H-II Family Total
300 km (162 nmi), 30.4 deg 8 43 9 60
185 km (100 nmi), 90 deg 6 42 9 57
Space Station Orbit: 407 km (220 nmi), 51.6 deg 1 0 0 1
Sun-Synchronous Orbit: 800 km (432 nmi), 98.6 deg 1 1 0 2