M series (Japanese rockets)
The M series of Japanese rockets were developed by ISAS (Institute of Space and Astronautical Science) from the earlier and smaller L series ("L" and "M" are short for "Lambda" and "Mu"). In order of debut after the L-4S, they are the M-4S, M-3C, M-3H, M-3S, M-3SII, and M-5.
The three-stage M-3C was the second rocket in the M series, after the M-4S. With newly developed second and third stages it improved the accuracy of orbital injection and launched the satellites Tansei-2, Taiyo, and Hakucho. The M-3H was derived by extending the first stage motor casing to increase the propellant capacity and hence the amount of payload that could be carried. It launched Tansei-3, Kyokko, and Jikiken. The third generation M-3S brought further improvements in the accuracy of orbital insertion and launched Tansei-4, Tenma, Hinotori, and Ohzora. A fourth generation began with M-3SII which used the first stage of M-3S, and new upper stages to enhance its payload capability. The M-3SII-1 and -2, with an optional fourth kick stage, sent the first and second Japanese interplanetary probes, Sakigake and Suisei, on their way to an encounter with Halley's Comet. Seven M-3SII launches out of eight have been successful, including those of Sakigake, Suisei, Ginga, Akebono, Hiten, Yohkoh, and ASCA.
M-4Chronologically, the first member of the M series was the four-stage M-4S rocket. It launched the satellites Tanpei, Shinsei, and Denpa.
Related categories ROCKETS, MISSILES, AND LAUNCH VEHICLES
JAPANESE LAUNCH VEHICLES
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