Launch of Japan's new rocket postponed until Friday

Japan's space agency says the launch of the first H3 rocket has been postponed until Friday due to expected weather conditions at the launch site.

The rocket, which is Japan's new mainstay launch vehicle, was scheduled to blast off from Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan, on Wednesday morning.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, said strong winds are expected at the time of the launch near the launch venue. It said the rocket would need to be returned to the vehicle assembly building if the launch were canceled. The act requires working at height, which could be dangerous amid strong winds.

JAXA and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries started jointly developing H3, a successor to the H2A rocket, in 2014. Development costs were over 200 billion yen, or about 1.52 billion dollars.

It is the first project to newly develop a large rocket in about 30 years. The rocket can carry a payload about 30 percent heavier than that of the H2A and costs about half as much to launch.

The first H3 is to carry a new DAICHI-3 earth observation satellite that is expected to be used for disaster management.