Tokyo: Japan has plans to launch a new light-class Epsilon carrier rocket in summer 2013, according to the country`s national space agency JAXA.
The space agency aims have an inexpensive rocket to launch compact low-cost satellites into orbit.
It will replace the M-5 rocket, a similar vehicle that carried out seven successful space missions between 1997 and 2006. The three-stage solid-fuel launcher is designed to lift more than 2,600 pounds to low Earth orbit. The M-5 rocket could haul about 4,000 pounds to a similar orbit.
Epsilon`s launch, meanwhile, will cost about $48 million compared to the M-5, which carried a $70 million price tag for each launch. The rocket`s designers are reusing technology from the M-5 and H-2A rockets to cut costs.