H-IIA (H2A) is an active expendable launch system operated by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. As of December 2017, H-IIA rockets were launched 37 times, including 31 consecutive missions without a failure, dating back to November 29, 2003.
The liquid-fueled H-IIA rockets have been used to launch satellites into geostationary orbit, to launch a lunar orbiting spacecraft, and to launch Atasuki, which studied the planet Venus. Production and management of the H-IIA shifted from JAXA to MHI on April 1, 2007.
The first number in the sequence indicates the number of stages; the second number of liquid rocket boosters (LRBs); the third number of SRBs; and, if present, the fourth number shows the number of SSBs.
There are currently two (formerly four) different variants of the H-IIA in active service for various purposes.
A derivative design, the H-IIB, was developed in the 2000s and made its maiden flight in 2009.
The sixth launch on November 29, 2003, intended to launch two IGS reconnaissance satellites, failed.
JAXA announced that launches would resume in 2005, and the first successful flight took place on February 26 with the launch of MTSAT-1R.
[ Related: Cygnus spacecraft reaches space station in ‘textbook rendezvous’ ] Virgin Galactic calls Space Ship Two an “air-launched glider” that is designed to carry tourists just past the edge of space.