Introduction of Research

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First Stage Reusability Flight Experiment (CALLISTO)

We are engaged with research that aims to reuse the first stages of launch vehicles that previously have been disposable, as a method for securing further low costs and international competitiveness towards the realization of next generation of H3 launch vehicle.

The important technologies (key technologies) among those involved in the series of operations from launch to landing, and then reuse, have been identified. They are guidance and control technology, propellant management technology, and engine maintenance technology. Through the development of compact experimental vehicle and flight tests, we will accumulate knowledge related to these technologies.

While taking initiatives in technologies in which Japan has unique superiority, we also plan to proceed with efficient flight tests, based on international cooperation with French and German space agencies.


The Value of Our Research

Development of the CALLISTO experimental vehicle and the accumulation of knowledge related to the key technologies for first stage reusability through flight tests will lead to us maintaining and strengthening the technological foundations of our country on future workhorse launch vehicles.
Additionally, it is expected that space transportation costs will decrease in future through reusing first stages, and that this will contribute to the expansion of space development and utilization.
Furthermore, executing flight tests jointly with overseas space agencies, with Japan in a leading position, promises to improve the international presence of our country.


Research Goals

Landing configuration of the CALLISTO experimental vehicle
  1. main specifications
  1. fuselage diameter: 1.1 m
  2. total height: 13 m
  3. gross mass: 3400 kg
  • We will accumulate data regarding guidance and control technology and propellant management technology, through the flights from launch to landing of the CALLISTO experimental vehicle. In order to achieve a high probability of normal launches and enable reliable landing, we are aiming to apply highly-robust guidance and control technology in relation to uncertain elements, such as the wind. Additionally, we will verify numerical analysis technology in relation to propellant behavior, for which Japan have the highest standards in the world. Furthermore, in addition to aiming for further improvements in precision, we will confirm the effects of the internal structure of the tank that can reliably feed propellant to the engine, even if there is a major attitude change.
  • Through the operations from landing to re-launch of the CALLISTO experimental vehicle, in addition to testing some technologies for more efficient engine maintenance such as health management technology, we will accumulate the data related to operation costs.
  • We will perform a comprehensive evaluation based on the status of future element research as well as data accumulated through the development and flight tests of the CALLISTO experimental vehicle and clarify our roadmap towards reusable launch vehicles.