New plant rockets Nissan into space

The final days of May saw the space rocket factory at Tomioka in Japan become fully operational.

Opened by Nissan, the factory will develop and manufacture the second generation H-II commercial rocket that will first take-off in the early part of the 21st Century. It will also make parts for the forthcoming Japanese space-station, and supply boosters for a number of current Japanese rockets including the M-V, a scientific and engineering satellite launcher.

The Tomioka plant employs 800, covers 480,000m2, and has its own rocket-firing test-facilities. Other activities will include aerospace, and the development of leading-edge environmental and energy technologies. The plant itself is an `intelligent’ environmentally sensitive building with comprehensive waste-treatment facilities and energy-saving air conditioning and lighting systems.