13 Sep 2002

Japan to carry out space experiments from Kiribati base

10:22 am on 13 September 2002

It has been announced that Japan will start a series of space exploration experiments using an unmanned vehicle from a base in Kiribati.

The National Space Development Agency of Japan and the National Aerospace Laboratory say the tests will be carried out on Christmas island from early October until mid-November.

The four-meter test vehicle with wings and power by jet engines is expected to fly five-thousand meters high and then land on a runway with the help of global positioning system satellites.

The plan is to develop a reusable space-going vehicle similar to the US space shuttle.

Christmas island is in the east of Kiribati and was used by Britain to test nuclear weapons.