Do you know that the largest space center in Japan is located on a small island called Tanegashima? The island is located 115 km south of Kyushu where Tanegashima Space Center has been established and covers a total of 10 million square meters on the island’s corner. The center is where rockets are built and tested before launching and also monitors all of Japan’s satellite.
Tanegashima Space Center is run by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) which is the country’s national aerospace agency. Many space-related activities are performed here such as testing, launching and rocket engine fire testing. However, the biggest attraction of all is the launching of the rockets where spectators have to be, at least, three kilometers away from the site.
It only happens a few times a year so it is best to schedule in advance. The biggest satellite launch system is H-II B wherein its rockets are able to launch several satellites all at once. The launching of rockets is done at the Yoshinobu Launch Complex.
Keep an eye out on the rocket launching schedule.
Why is the space center located in such a far-flung location?
There are two main reasons for this:
- When the site was chosen, it was considered the closest place to the equator in Japan, which was one criteria, required for choosing an appropriate location to launch rockets.
- The second reason is that it is in a remote location near the sea, which was considered less hazardous if anything went wrong as the rocket is more likely to crash into the sea.
Look out for the space center’s free tours of its launch facilities! There are plenty of opportunities as they occur three times a day for an hour and 15 minutes. Just head over to the museum which is open daily from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm and get the chance to see rocket assembly building, the launch pads, and the control center.