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Start-up firm's rocket crashes into sea shortly after liftoff

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While their entreprenurial efforts are applauded, their choice of launch location is kinda dumb.

The closer a rocket launches to the equator the more initial velocity it has due to earth's rotation.

This is basic physics.

Its why JAXA launches from an island off southern Kyushu, its why NASA uses Florida (and Texas), and why Russia still uses its former Soviet launch pads in Kazakhstan.

Yes, its possible to launch from anywhere, but being in Hokkaido (instead of somewhere in south Japan) greatly reduces efficiency. They are climbing an unnecessary mountain.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Space is hard. It won't be like getting onto a commercial jet for another 50+ yrs. We are still in the earliest stages of successful rocketry for private organizations.

If you aren't trying to get into a West-to-East orbit, the launch location is driven by other considerations. The US launches polar orbit satellites from many different locations, including Kodiac, Alaska and Virginia.

120 km isn't really that high compared to a geostationary orbit altitude of approx. 36,000 km, to getting that boost from being near as close to the equator as possible isn't very important. If it was REALLY important, the USA would be launching from Panama or Columbia, right?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"The closer a rocket launches to the equator the more initial velocity it has due to earth's rotation.

This is basic physics."

LOL Really? I guess you don't know that the Russian launch site (Baikonur Cosmodrome) is in

Kazakhstan. BOY I didn't know Kazakhstan was near the equator.

LOL LOL

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

@theFu

If it was REALLY important, the USA would be launching from Panama or Columbia, right?

You realize that those places are different countries, and it'd be pretty assinine to base a highly top secret, multi-billion dollar agency on foreign soil.

@alwaysspeakingwisdom

LOL Really? I guess you don't know that the Russian launch site (Baikonur Cosmodrome) is in

Kazakhstan. BOY I didn't know Kazakhstan was near the equator.

LOL LOL

Umm, yes I did know that the Russian launch site is in Kazakhstan... I literally stated that in my previous comment.

But then where in the old Soviet Union was the closest point to the equator, as well as in a remote, flat, and unpopulated location? Oh, yeah, and a very quick check confirms this:

-taken from Baikonur Cosmodrome Wikipedia Entry (under "History" in regards to choice of location):

"Also, it is advantageous to place space launch sites closer to the equator, as the surface of the Earth has higher rotational speed in such areas."

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Aren't pre-made rockets available already for anybody to buy and stick their spaceships to and launch? Somebody should.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

In regard to rotational speed:

Kushiro, Hokkaido: latitude 43 degrees, earth rotational speed 1220km/h

Tanegashima, Kyushu (JAXA launch site) : 30 degrees latitude, earth rotation speed 1450km/h

So by launching in southern Japan instead of northern Japan, on liftoff a rocket is already moving 230km/h faster.

(though, as @theFu stated, if seeking a polar orbit, then being near the equator is unnecessary).

https://www.scienceabc.com/eyeopeners/why-are-rockets-launched-from-areas-near-the-equator.html

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I applaud Horie, he certainly is a man who doesn't give up easily and he seems to have a large backing, good luck to him.

(He didn't deserve to go to prison back in the day)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Wow, Takafumi is back. Good to see him going for it again, and hopefully legally all the way this time around.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The basic problem is using oversized fireworks in the first place. Secondly if you keep throwing the expensive and complicated bit away you have far less idea if the next one will work. It’s not just cost but reliability that pushed SpaceX down the path they took.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You realize that those places are different countries, and it'd be pretty assinine (sic) to base a highly top secret, multi-billion dollar agency on foreign soil.

NASA isn't top secret ... the last STS DoD classified mission was in 1990.

NASA is controlled access. The US has bases all over the world with billions spent. The point is that if launching at the equator was that important, then NASA would be doing it. Heck, if it was THAT important, NASA would launch from Key West, FL or Hawaii or American Samoa, which is farther south than anywhere else the US controlled territory.

+/-200 km/hr is nothing to a rocket that will be going 27,000+ km/hr, unless the specific rocket is struggling to get there.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

NASA isn't top secret ... the last STS DoD classified mission was in 1990.

So you mean NASA missions were top secret... until the stopped. And now all their operations are unclassified??!!

The places you listed are indeed further south, but the logistics for operating in such a remote location negated any cost benefit for being closer to the equator (in the beginning the Mashall Islands were seriously considered since they were only a few degrees from the equator).

When Cape Canaveral was first chosen NASA missions were very classified, not to mention that it was logistically connected by road and rail, it was already a military site, coral atolls make for pretty crummy ICBM launch pads, it was in a US State with political clout (unlike, Samoa, Puerto Rico, the Marshalls, or even at the time Hawaii)... AND it was the furthest south point in the CONUS to cover all those factors (among others).

But if as you say latitude is not a factor in choosing a launch site, then why did Russia choose south Kazakhstan instead of Kachatka? Why do the French use Guiana and not Provence? Why did the Indians put their site in Kerela instead of Punjab? Why is JAXA off the south coast of Kyushu and not in Hokkaido like Mr. Horie? Or why has China just built their newest launch site, intended for their biggest yet payloads, on Hainan Island?

Sure, keep believing latitude has nothing to do with it

0 ( +0 / -0 )

People are arguing at cross-purposes here but we all get the general picture. Launch from as far south as you can, ideally, unless you want a polar orbit.

Good luck to Horie and his venture, surely with internal logic and costed out in advance.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

PS Edit to: launch as far south towards the equator as you can, when in the northern hemisphere.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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