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The intended audience is mostly China ("look at how similiar to an ICBM this space rocket is"), but the program is scientifically very useful despite that.

Japan is next door to China. I struggle to see why they'd need something as long range as an ICBM.

Due to the time it takes to prepare and launch one, liquid fueled rockets have very limited strategic or tactical relevance... The US learned this with the first generation of titan ICBMs which were stored horizontally and intended to be erected+fueled on demand for launch.

The Epsilon is a solid fuel rocket.

> look at how similiar to an ICBM this space rocket is

Nagasaki is just 800km away from Shanghai. How ICBM is relevant here is really beyond my understanding.

Was there really any question whether Japan could build an ICBM though? Russia and maybe even North Korea can make them.

Russia/the Soviet Union built the world's first ICBM [1] and has arguably the most acomplished space program in the world:

They were the first to launch a satellite, the first to put animals in orbit and the first to retrieve animals savely from orbit, first EVA, the first probe on the Moon, on Venus and on Mars, the first robotic rover, the first woman in space as well as the first hispanic and black person in space, the first space station as well as the first permamently settled one, ...

I don't think their capabilities tell us much about Japan's.

1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R-7_Semyorka


Why put Russia under the category of North Korea, are they not accomplished enough in the rocket department to be considered closer to the US?

Isn't the US still buying rockest from Russia for critical launches? I'd say Russia might have a bit of an edge.

The US doesn't buy rockets from Russia, ULA uses the RD-180 engine until the new Blue Origin engine is ready. The ULA rockets are eg Atlas V (uses the RS-180) and Delta IV. The Delta IV rocket and heavy lift variation uses the RS-68 [1] engine, which is US tech. Their new Vulcan rocket will use the Blue Origin engine.

SpaceX is certified for critical / national security launches and does not use Russia tech.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RS-68

Yeah, I meant rocket engines. I realize there's a lot more to a rocket than just the engines.

Not buying but getting people to the ISS is done with russian rockets (i.e. No space shuttle anymore)

ICBMs stand for InterContinental ballistic missile. Intercontinental being the key word. Last I checked both china and japan were on the same continent.

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