Japanese automaker Honda Motor plans to enter the commercial space business. By 2030, the company expects to launch a test rocket to enter the low-Earth orbit market. The company's expertise in the development of internal combustion engines and other automotive technologies is expected to help the company advance in the new area.
Honda expects to cut the cost of launching small satellites in half by reusing rockets. Such launches using disposable rockets typically cost $ 45 million. Honda hopes to return the carrier to the launch pad for reuse. The company plans to develop a small rocket capable of launching satellites weighing less than a ton at altitudes ranging from 500 to 2000 km.
In addition to using self-propelled propulsion technology for flight control and reusable missile guidance, the company will also apply fuel combustion technology developed for gasoline engines.
The small satellite market is growing rapidly now. It is expected that the scope of their application will expand, in particular, they will be responsible for collecting data on the location of self-driving cars. The small satellite launch business is projected to reach $ 7.1 billion in 2025, up from $ 2.8 billion last year. Now the largest player in this market is SpaceX, which uses partially reusable Falcon 9 rockets.