Watch Japan launch its 1st orbital mission of 2022 tonight

Japan is scheduled to launch a variety of technology-demonstrating payloads to orbit tonight (Oct. 11), and you can watch the action live.

A Japanese Epsilon rocket is scheduled to lift off from Uchinoura Space Center at 8:50 p.m. EDT tonight (0050 GMT and 9:50 a.m. local Japan time on Oct. 12 ). Watch it live here at, courtesy of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or directly via JAXA. Coverage is expected to begin about 35 minutes before launch.

The mission, known as Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstration 3, will be Japan's first orbital liftoff of 2022.

Related: The history of rockets

The main satellite flying tonight is called RAISE 3, which is short for "Rapid Innovative payload demonstration Satellite 3." The roughly 220-pound (100 kilograms) spacecraft carries seven separate technologies that will get a test in Earth orbit, if all goes according to plan.

Among those technologies are two small experimental thrusters, including one that uses water as fuel; a drag sail designed to help satellites deorbit more quickly and efficiently; and a deployable membrane structure that can generate power and also serve as an antenna.

Five tiny cubesats are also launching on the Epsilon tonight as rideshare payloads, according to

Tonight's launch will be the sixth overall for the 78-foot-tall (24 meters) Epsilon, a solid-fuel rocket that debuted in September 2013 and can deliver up to 2,646 pounds (1,200 kg) to low Earth orbit, according to its JAXA specifications page.

All five Epsilon missions to date have been successful. The most recent one, which launched in November 2021, carried the RAISE 2 satellite and eight small rideshare spacecraft to orbit for JAXA's Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstration Program.

The first mission in that program, which aims to encourage the development of innovative space tech, also employed an Epsilon. That flight, which launched in January 2019, featured a main spacecraft called RAPIS 1 ("Rapid Innovative Payload Demonstration Satellite 1").

Mike Wall is the author of "Out There" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.

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Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.