Japan Space Agency will copy 2012 SpaceX Grasshopper rocket tests in 2019

In 2019, Japan will be copying what SpaceX did in 2012 with the Grasshopper rocket tests.

Japan, China, Europe and Russia and other US competitors are all in a panic over the complete domination that SpaceX already has and how it will get even more dominant with the SpaceX BFR.

JAXA’s (Japan’s Space Agency) rocket for the test is 7 meters high and weighs 2 tons. It will take off via the 4-ton thrust force created by an engine that mixes and burns liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen.

The March 2019 test launch will send the rocket to about 100 meters in altitude. The rocket will then return to Earth and land vertically on its base.

JAXA plans another test launch to about 5 kilometers in altitude in the latter half of fiscal 2019.

During the course of the project, JAXA is scheduled to conduct a fuel-burning test in a facility located in Noshiro, Akita Prefecture. The test will check the durability of the engine, which will be repeatedly exposed to high temperatures during the flights.

U.S. venture company SpaceX slowly landed a large-sized rocket and recovered it intact in 2015. The company in 2017 launched the recovered rocket, carrying a commercial satellite.

Jeff Bezos Blue Origin has also succeeded in reusing a rocket after supersonic suborbital flight.

China is ramping up its reusable rocket tests and new designs will be optimized for reusability.

10 thoughts on “Japan Space Agency will copy 2012 SpaceX Grasshopper rocket tests in 2019”

  1. PANIC PANIC!! They can panic all they like, but only enterprising companies, not governments, will be able to nimbly develop tech fast enough to keep up with other nimble enterprising companies … it’s just going to be a big taxpayer spend-fest that ends nowhere fast. SpaceX is dominant for a reason – they got a ton of brilliant highly motivated enthusiastic engineers, an itty-bitty bureaucratic footprint (relative to a government agency) and a CEO who inspires the imagination. The big agencies should stop now and prevent later embarrassment … but who am I kidding, they’d drink down all their own kool-aid for a mere dollar of extorted tax-money.

  2. MHI is apparently proceeding with work on the next RVT it seems, but this being MHI it will not be done in time to assist H-3 work realistically. Shame some japanese newspace startup didn’t carry the mantel forward.

  3. Grasshopper? Japan was flying a vertical take-off-vertical landing hydrogen/oxygen demonstrator known as RVT that flew numerous times in 1998-2003. I often called it (with no derision intended) a ‘DC-X Junior.’ at the time.


    Google: “RVT”+”Japan”+”rocket”

    In 2007, a larger New Shepard-ish (that is, capable of 100km) version was proposed, that was to fly in 2011.


    And then there was their related “Kankoh Maru” commercial SSTO design proposal…

    A ‘100 meter’ VTVL? They’ve been there and done that about 20 years ago, but hardly anyone noticed that wasn’t a space enthusiast.

  4. That may work for Japan or EU countries, but maybe not for Russia or China, who may have competing interests with the USA or fall under its sanctions.

    Gee, I think even close allies will try to copy SpaceX to save their national pride and local know how/jobs. Of course, their eventual succeed or lack thereof is a different story.

  5. Yes, it was an system for testing out landings only, Spacex used the spent first stages for first stage bun bakc and hypersonic reentry testing.
    New Sheppard combines both while being an business model in it self and its an test of the upper stage engine for new Glen

  6. I remember reading similar suggestions like Space X at the end of the 80s on sci.space.tech, where quite a few people working in the industry wrote.

    With real competition, reusability and lower launch costs could have come decades earlier.

    This is a case of people reaping what they sow. We could have an industrial infrastructure outside the atmosphere by now.

  7. Good, they should be worried and copying what works.

    Nevertheless, in this case I see the problem of this being a sub-scale version of a future rocket.

    Grasshopper was not meant for space tests, but it was a full scale replica of a F9 first stage Merlin engines and fuel tanks.

    That gives a simulation of the actual operational parameters the real one would face under similar conditions.

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