It was not the coming-out party Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) had planned to highlight its growing interest in the commercial launch industry, but the prime contractor for Japan’s H-II rocket family nonetheless found itself in the limelight after an unprecedented launchpad fire nixed its eighth cargo run to the International Space Station (ISS). Efforts to extinguish the small fire, which stemmed from the base of the rocket’s mobile launcher, took more than 2 hr., ...

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