Grandpa’s ax, as the saying goes, had a few new handles and few new heads—but it was still supposed to be the same ax. The IHI Corp. Epsilon solid-propellant space launcher is similar in that way: It has already had a new second stage, will get a new first stage and may get a new third stage. The avionics are changing, too. But it will still be called Epsilon. Development by IHI and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is moving rapidly from one major revision to the ...

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