Here's how Japan launched satellites into orbit using crooked launch vehicles

And without steering!
Derya Ozdemir

Did you know that Japan was the fourth country in the world to launch a satellite into orbit using its own launch vehicle? In fact, they accomplished this despite the fact that they were unable to employ any guidance systems on their early rockets due to legal restrictions on weapon research, which included long-range rockets.

This necessitated the adoption of a smart launch technique that positioned the rocket at the proper angle to initiate a gravity turn that would carry them to space. The satellite we are talking about was launched in 1970 by the Lambda 4S, a Japanese experimental carrier rocket. It took Japan five tries to get it to operate, and one look at an image of it will tell you that this rocket was different from the rest since it wasn't standing straight up and down like everyone else's rockets. This angled launch concept was carried over onto several of Japan's domestically produced launch vehicles for decades. If you want to learn more about Japan's crooked launch vehicles and how they managed to make this design work, watch the video above by Scott Manley, and as always, enjoy.

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