BEIJING — A Japanese program to develop a cheaper solid-propellant space launcher has achieved successful first launch, with the Epsilon rocket putting a planetary observation satellite into orbit. The first Epsilon launch cost ¥5.3 billion ($53.6 million), compared with a ¥3.8 billion target quoted for the rocket’s initial version by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in 2011. The cost is to be reduced to ¥3 billion, Japanese media report, but it is unclear whether that ...

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