N-I (rocket)

The N-I or N-1 was a derivative of the American Delta rocket, produced under licence in Japan. It used a Thor-ELT first stage, a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries-designed LE-3 engine was used as a second stage,[3][4][5] and three Castor SRMs.[2][6] Seven were launched between 1975 and 1982, before it was replaced by the N-II. Six of the seven launches were successful, however on the fifth flight, there was recontact between the satellite and the third stage, which caused the satellite to fail.

The N-I rocket[1]
FunctionCarrier rocket
ManufacturerMcDonnell Douglas (design)
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (production)
Country of originUnited States (design)
Japan (production)
Height34 metres (112 ft)[1]
Diameter2.44 metres (8.0 ft)
Mass131,330 kilograms (289,530 lb)[1]
Stages2 or 3
Payload to LEO1,200 kilograms (2,600 lb)[1]
Payload to GTO360 kilograms (790 lb)[1]
Associated rockets
Launch history
Launch sitesLA-N, Tanegashima
Total launches7
Partial failures1
First flight9 September 1975
Last flight3 September 1982
Boosters – Castor 2
No. boosters3[2]
Engines1 TX-354-3
Thrust258.9 kilonewtons (58,200 lbf)
Specific impulse262 sec
Burn time37 seconds
First stage – Thor-ELT
Engines1 MB-3-3
Thrust866.7 kilonewtons (194,800 lbf)
Specific impulse290 sec
Burn time270 seconds
Second stage
Engines1 LE-3
Thrust52.9 kilonewtons (11,900 lbf)
Specific impulse290 sec
Burn time246 seconds
Third stage (optional) – Star-37N
Engines1 solid
Thrust45 kilonewtons (10,000 lbf)
Specific impulse290 sec
Burn time42 seconds

On 29 February 1976, the second N-I conducted the only orbital launch to occur on a leap day.[7]

Launch history

Flight № Date / time (UTC) Rocket,
Launch site Payload Payload mass Orbit Customer Launch
1(F) 9 September 1975
ETS-1 (JETS-1/Kiku-1) LEO Success
2(F) 29 February 1976
ISS-1 (JISS-1/Ume-1) LEO Success
3(F) 23 February 1977
ETS-2 (Kiku-2) GTO Success
3rd stage used
4(F) 16 February 1978
ISS-2 (JISS-2/Ume-2) LEO Success
5(F) 6 February 1979
ECS-A (Ayame-1) GTO Partial failure
3rd stage used; Recontact between satellite and upper stage.
6(F) 22 February 1980
ECS-B (Ayame-2) GTO Success
3rd stage used
9(F) 3 September 1982
ETS-3 (Kiku-4) LEO Success

See also


  1. Wade, Mark. "Delta". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 22 May 2013. Retrieved 3 September 2008.
  2. "JAXA Digital Archives". Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. Archived from the original on 9 September 2009. Retrieved 1 October 2009.
  3. "N-Iロケット開発の歩み". Yukihiko Takenaka, NASDA. Retrieved 10 February 2011.
  4. "三菱重工 名古屋誘導推進システム製作所 事業所紹介 沿革". Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Archived from the original on 4 July 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2011.
  5. "第1部 創造性豊かな科学技術を求めて 第2章 自主技術開発への展開 第3節 先導的・基盤的科学技術分野における自主技術開発の展開 2.宇宙開発". Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Retrieved 10 February 2011.
  6. Krebs, Gunter. "N-1". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 31 August 2008.
  7. Pearlman, Robert. "Space Station Command Change Is One Giant Leap (Day) for Space History". Space.com. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  8. McDowell, Jonathan. "Thor". Orbital and Suborbital Launch Database. Jonathan's Space Report. Retrieved 31 August 2008.

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