JAXA wants to send up space plane or capsule by 2022
News On Japan via MSNBC -- Oct 26
Japan hopes to be launching astronauts aboard a manned capsule or space plane by 2022, and the nation is also eyeing point-to-point suborbital transportation over the longer haul.
The capsule or mini-shuttle - which may resemble Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser space plane - would each accommodate a crew of three and carry up to 880 pounds (400 kilograms) of cargo, officials with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said this month.
The mini-shuttle would weigh 26,400 pounds (11,975 kg) and land at one of five suitable runways worldwide. Because a launch abort from Japan's Tanegashima Space Center would mean a Pacific Ocean landing, the space plane would also have to be able to cope with the sea.
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