Click HERE for the full story on the launch of Japan's new H-II Transfer vehicle from the BBC.
The space freighter, together with its Kaguya moon probe and its announcement of a project to develop solar power satellites, demonstrates what I hope to be a trend of Japan taking much more of an initiative in space. Last year, JAXA (the Japanese Aerospace eXploration Agency, the island nation's equivalent of NASA) announced much more ambitious agenda in the years to come. Beforehand, Japan as a space power was primarily a relatively safe but unimaginative satellite-launcher. Now it seems to be blossoming into much more, and may be on its way to becoming a major space power in a decade or two.
Go HERE for an interview with Keiji Tachikawa, president of JAXA, for more information on Japan's future space plans.