Japan delays launch of high-speed internet satellite

Japan's space agency is delaying the launch of a satellite aimed at providing high-speed internet access across Asia due to a technical problem with its rocket, an AFP report said.

The AFP report said Japan was slated last week to launch the Kazuna, an experimental satellite looking at how to bring broadband-speed service across Asia even when terrestrial infrastructure goes down.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said it discovered a problem with the gas jet thruster for its H-2A launch rocket on Tuesday at its station on the southern island of Tanegashima, the AFP report said.

The AFP report quoted a JAXA statement as saying that 'the new launch date will be announced as soon as it is determined.'

The satellite was jointly developed by JAXA and industrial giant Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which is handling the launch for the second time since the H-2A was privatised in April 2007, the report said.

Japan, like developing Asian powers China and India, has been stepping up its space operations. Japan has set a goal of sending an astronaut to the moon by 2020, the report further said.

Japan faced an embarrassing failure in November 2003, when it had to destroy a rocket carrying a spy satellite 10 minutes after lift-off because a booster failed to separate.