Encyclopedia Astronautica
Mu-3S-II


Japanese all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 2 x SB-735 + 1 x M-13 + 1 x M-23 + 1 x M-3B

LEO Payload: 800 kg (1,760 lb). Failures: 1. First Fail Date: 1995-01-15. Last Fail Date: 1995-01-15.

Gross mass: 61,700 kg (136,000 lb).
Payload: 800 kg (1,760 lb).
Height: 27.80 m (91.20 ft).
Diameter: 1.41 m (4.62 ft).
Thrust: 1,930.00 kN (433,880 lbf).
Apogee: 1,400 km (800 mi).
First Launch: 1985.01.07.
Last Launch: 1995.01.15.
Number: 8 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • SS Japanese earth magnetosphere satellite. 6 launches, 1970.09.25 (SS) to 1985.08.18 (SS-11 Suisei). Scientific observations in outer space. More...
  • Tansei Japanese technology satellite. 5 launches, 1971.02.16 (Tansei 1) to 1985.01.07 (SS-10 Sagikake). Series of spacecraft of varying configurations built for engineering tests of scientific satellite equipment. More...
  • EXOS Japanese earth ionosphere satellite. 4 launches, 1978.02.04 (SS-05 Kyokko) to 1989.02.21 (Akebono). Optical investigations of ionosphere. EXOS-C (OHZORA). More...
  • Astro Japanese x-ray astronomy satellite. 4 launches, 1981.02.21 (SS-07 Hinotori) to 1993.02.20 (Asuka). X-ray experiments. Launching organization: ISAS (Institute of Space and Astronautical Science). More...
  • Hagoromo Japanese lunar orbiter. One launch, 1990.01.24. Lunar orbiter ejected from Muses A 3/19/90; contact lost after release; engineering test. Lunar Orbit (Selenocentric). More...
  • Hiten Japanese lunar orbiter. One launch, 1990.01.24. MUSES-A was renamed Hiten after launch. It developed of lunar swingby techniques for future missions and ejected a lunar orbiter. More...
  • Solar Japanese solar satellite. One launch, 1991.08.30. X-ray imaging of Sun. More...
  • Express 1 Japanese materials science satellite. One launch, 1995.01.15, EXPRESS RV. At first thought not to have reached orbit. Later reentry vehicle was discovered in Ghana having reentered and deployed its parachute on Jan 15. More...

See also
  • Mu The Japanese Mu launcher series provided a flexible all-solid propellant launch vehicle for access to space. It was the first Japanese launch vehicle designed from the start as an orbital launch vehicle. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Nissan Japanese manufacturer of rocket engines and rockets. Nissan, Japan. More...

Associated Programs
  • Muses Mu Space Engineering Satellites (launched on Japanes Mu series launch vehicles) pioneered new satellite technologies, including lunar flyby interplanetary injection, aerobraking, and large structure deployment. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Kagoshima Japanese launch center for solid fueled sounding rockets and satellite launchers. Limited to two months a year due to disturbance of local fisheries. More...

Associated Stages
  • M-3B Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 3,590/310 kg. Thrust 132.12 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 294 seconds. More...
  • Mu-3S-0 Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 5,100/1,080 kg. Thrust 327.83 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 263 seconds. More...
  • Mu-3S-1 Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 34,800/7,640 kg. Thrust 1,262.42 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 263 seconds. More...
  • Mu-3S-2 Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 13,100/2,800 kg. Thrust 524.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 285 seconds. More...

Mu-3S-II Chronology


1985 January 7 - . 19:26 GMT - . Launch Site: Kagoshima. Launch Complex: Kagoshima M. Launch Pad: M1. LV Family: Mu. Launch Vehicle: Mu-3S-II. LV Configuration: Mu-3S-II M-3S2-1.
  • SS-10 Sagikake - . Payload: MS T5. Mass: 141 kg (310 lb). Nation: Japan. Agency: ISAS. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: Tansei. USAF Sat Cat: 15464 . COSPAR: 1985-001A. Sakigake ('Pioneer') was a test spacecraft similar to Suisei (Planet-A). Objectives were :verification of fundamental technology related to interplanetary missions, including deep-space communication, attitude control, attitude determination; study and observation of solar wind and plasma waves and interplanetary magnetic field. It carried three instruments to measure plasma wave spectra, solar wind ions, and interplanetary magnetic fields. The spacecraft was spin-stabilized at two different rates (5 and 0.2 rpm). It was equipped with hydrazine thrusters for attitude and velocity control, star and sun sensors for attitude determination, and a mechanically despun off-set parabolic dish for long-range communication. Launched into an initial heliocentric orbit with a period of 318.8 days, at 151.4 x 121.9 million km (0.815 x 1.012 AU), 1.439 degree inclination. Flew by Comet Halley on its sunward side at a distance of about 7 million kilometers on March 11, 1986. It later made an Earth swingby on January 8, 1992 with a closest approach of 88,997 km. This was the first planet-swingby for a Japanese spacecraft. During the approach, Sakigake observed the geotail, with passage occurring at 290 Re on 14 June 1993 before ISTP's multi-spacecraft investigation of that region. The second Earth swingby was on June 14, 1993 at 40 Re, and the third on October 28, 1994 at 86 Re. Almost no hydrazine remained so no further maneuvers were accomplished. Telemetry contact was lost on 15 November 1995 at a distance of 106 million km. Future mission planning had included a 23.6 km/s, 10,000 km flyby of Comet Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova on Feb 3, 1996 (approaching the nucleus along the tail) some 0.17 AU from the Sun, and a 14 million km passage of Comet Giacobini-Zinner on Nov 29, 1998.

1985 August 18 - . 23:33 GMT - . Launch Site: Kagoshima. Launch Complex: Kagoshima M. Launch Pad: M1. LV Family: Mu. Launch Vehicle: Mu-3S-II. LV Configuration: Mu-3S-II M-3S2-2.
  • SS-11 Suisei - . Payload: Planet A. Mass: 141 kg (310 lb). Nation: Japan. Agency: ISAS. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft: SS. USAF Sat Cat: 15967 . COSPAR: 1985-073A. Rendezvoused with comet Halley 3/8/86. Solar Orbit (Heliocentric). PLANET-A (SUISEI). Launch time 2333 GMT. Imaging of the hydrogen coma of Halley's comet by the hydrogen Lyman alpha line. Measurement of the solar wind in the cruising phase and in the vicinity of the comet. Launching organiza tion ISAS. Heliocentric orbit parameters 282 days, inclination 0.888 deg, 151.42 x 100.5 million km (1.0122 x 0.6718 AU).

1987 February 5 - . 06:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Kagoshima. Launch Complex: Kagoshima M. Launch Pad: M1. LV Family: Mu. Launch Vehicle: Mu-3S-II. LV Configuration: Mu-3S-II M-3S2-3.
  • Ginga - . Payload: Astro C. Mass: 420 kg (920 lb). Nation: Japan. Agency: ISAS. Class: Astronomy. Type: X-ray astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: Astro. Decay Date: 1991-11-01 . USAF Sat Cat: 17480 . COSPAR: 1987-012A. Apogee: 450 km (270 mi). Perigee: 395 km (245 mi). Inclination: 31.0000 deg. Period: 93.00 min. Summary: Studyied galactic gamma ray, X-ray sources. ASTRO-C (Ginga). Observation of variabilities of X-rays from active galactic nuclei and galactic compact sources. Launching organization ISAS. Launch time 0630 GMT. .

1989 February 21 - . 23:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Kagoshima. Launch Complex: Kagoshima M. Launch Pad: M1. LV Family: Mu. Launch Vehicle: Mu-3S-II. LV Configuration: Mu-3S-II M-3S2-4.
  • Akebono - . Payload: Exos D. Mass: 295 kg (650 lb). Nation: Japan. Agency: ISAS. Class: Earth. Type: Ionosphere satellite. Spacecraft: EXOS. USAF Sat Cat: 19822 . COSPAR: 1989-016A. Apogee: 8,554 km (5,315 mi). Perigee: 272 km (169 mi). Inclination: 75.1000 deg. Period: 185.90 min. Summary: Studied aurora borealis, auroral australis. EXOS-D (Akebono). Observation in high precision of behaviour and acceleration mechanism of aurora particles in Earth magnetosphere. Launching organization ISAS. Launch time 2330 GMT. .

1990 January 24 - . 11:46 GMT - . Launch Site: Kagoshima. Launch Complex: Kagoshima M. Launch Pad: M1. LV Family: Mu. Launch Vehicle: Mu-3S-II. LV Configuration: Mu-3S-II M-3S2-5.
  • Hiten - . Payload: Muses A. Mass: 185 kg (407 lb). Nation: Japan. Agency: ISAS. Program: Muses. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Hiten. Decay Date: 1993-04-11 . USAF Sat Cat: 20448 . COSPAR: 1990-007A. Apogee: 286,183 km (177,825 mi). Perigee: 262 km (162 mi). Inclination: 30.6000 deg. Period: 9,597.60 min. MUSES-A was renamed Hiten after launch. It developed of lunar swingby techniques for future missions and ejected a lunar orbiter. Launching organization ISAS. On 1990 Jan 25: Period 6.665 days, inclination 30.63 deg, 262.49 x 286182.72 km. On 1992 Feb 17: Period 4.53 days, inclination 38.90 deg, perilune 2289.67 km, apolune 49013.93 km.
  • Hagoromo - . Payload: Muses A. Mass: 12 kg (26 lb). Nation: Japan. Agency: ISAS. Program: Muses. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Hagoromo. USAF Sat Cat: 20618 . COSPAR: 1990-007B. Summary: Lunar orbiter ejected from Muses A 3/19/90; contact lost after release; engineering test. Lunar Orbit (Selenocentric). .

1991 August 30 - . 02:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Kagoshima. Launch Complex: Kagoshima M. Launch Pad: M1. LV Family: Mu. Launch Vehicle: Mu-3S-II. LV Configuration: Mu-3S-II M-3S2-6.
  • Solar-A - . Payload: Yohkoh. Mass: 420 kg (920 lb). Nation: Japan. Agency: ISAS. Class: Astronomy. Type: Solar astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: Solar. Decay Date: 2005-09-12 . USAF Sat Cat: 21694 . COSPAR: 1991-062A. Apogee: 754 km (468 mi). Perigee: 516 km (320 mi). Inclination: 31.3000 deg. Period: 97.40 min. Summary: X-ray imaging of Sun..

1993 February 20 - . 02:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Kagoshima. Launch Complex: Kagoshima M. Launch Pad: M1. LV Family: Mu. Launch Vehicle: Mu-3S-II. LV Configuration: Mu-3S-II M-3S2-7.
  • Asuka - . Payload: Astro D. Mass: 420 kg (920 lb). Nation: Japan. Agency: ISAS. Program: Astro. Class: Astronomy. Type: X-ray astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: Astro. Decay Date: 2001-03-02 . USAF Sat Cat: 22521 . COSPAR: 1993-011A. Apogee: 646 km (401 mi). Perigee: 539 km (334 mi). Inclination: 31.1000 deg. Period: 96.50 min. Summary: X-ray imaging and astronomy. Imaging and spectroscopic observations of various astronomical objects (stars and galaxies) in the X-ray band. Launching organization ISAS. Launch time 0200 GMT. Astro-D 'ASCA'..

1995 January 15 - . 13:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Kagoshima. Launch Complex: Kagoshima M. Launch Pad: M1. LV Family: Mu. Launch Vehicle: Mu-3S-II. LV Configuration: Mu-3S-II M-3S2-8. FAILURE: Failure of second stage attitude control system.. Failed Stage: 2.
  • Express 1 - . Nation: Japan. Agency: ISAS. Class: Materials. Type: Materials science satellite. Spacecraft: Express 1. Decay Date: 1995-01-15 . COSPAR: F950115A. At first thought not to have reached orbit. Later the re-entry vehicle was discovered in Ghana having reentered and deployed its parachute on January 15. At T+103 sec, during the second stage burn, the vehicle veered off course. The payload service module entered a 110 x 250 km x 33 degree orbit, instead of the intended 270 x 380 km and re-entered on its second orbit. The re-entry capsule was found later in Ghana. A failure of the second stage attitude control system was blamed, although it was considered likely that the payload was too heavy for the vehicle, being twice the mass of earlier MU-3S payloads.

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