Japan GPS satellite launch postponed due to helium gas leak


Japan on Saturday postponed the planned launch of an H-2A rocket tasked to put a geo-positioing satellite into orbit due to a possible helium gas leakage, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has said.

MHI, commissioned by the government to carry the satellite into space, postponed Saturday’s launch after detecting a decline in pressure levels inside a tank containing helium gas, which is used to operate valves for cooling rocket engines.

The company is looking into what specifically caused the pressure decline, and the rocket is now likely to be launched as early as 17th August, MHI said.

The launch of a third geo-positioning satellite is part of Japan’s plan to build a local version of the US global positioning system (GPS) aimed to offer location information for autopiloting of cars and possible national security purposes.

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