It is regrettable that the launch of the first H3 rocket in 2023 ended in failure, but it is not easy to see the situation of water cuttings and road transportation of this H3 rocket even at the port in Tanegashima.
This article introduces the scenery of the land transportation of the large rocket with photos.
Please enjoy it to the end.
H3 rocket failure, go for it! Domestic H3 rocket transport scene on the island
Tanegashima's rockets are shipped overland from Shimama Port to the launch site
Tanegashima Island is famous for the introduction of guns and sweet potatoes, but its main attraction is the launch site of Japan's only large-scale rocket.
Although the launch of the new H3 rocket failed the other day, we hope that the island will continue to challenge the next generation of rocket launches without losing heart.
Since this is a site introducing Tanegashima, I cannot leave out an article on rockets, so this time I will write about the "transportation of H3 rocket containers within the island".
The site of the Tanegashima rocket transport was quite open
What is rocket container draining?
The rockets to be launched at Tanegashima are transported by ship to Shimama Port on Tanegashima Island, and two containers containing the rockets are carried to the large rocket launch site using public roads late at night.
The rocket containers are unloaded at Shimama Port, and this unloading is called "mizukiri" in the local language.
Rocket container transportation will be performed according to the following schedule
- Container arrives at Shimama Port and is immediately drained: work is performed in the morning
- Rocket containers are reloaded onto special trailers and wait at the port until night
- Around 10:00 p.m., the rocket container departs Shimama Port
- Around 12:00 a.m., the container passes through the Kaminaka intersection at the midway point (a popular location for filming)
- Around 2:00 a.m., the container arrives at the large rocket launch site
Container moves about as fast as walking
While the rocket container is moving, it will be accompanied by a leader, a guide, and several police cars, but it is possible to stand by at various locations along the route for filming, and there may be times when TV stations will be on hand to cover the event.
Since it is late at night, it is easy to shake the camera and make mistakes, but since the speed of the containers is slow, it is a good idea to prepare a tripod.
Is Rocket Container Transport Strictly Guarded? No. Free to photograph
Since this is an important rocket transport, you may think that there are many police and security guards and that you will be kicked out if you approach, but in fact you can get quite close, and photography is free, so anyone can take pictures.
Shimama Port in Minami-Tane Town is located here.
Visitors are also free to observe the work at Shimama Port, where the draining takes place
I was a suspicious-looking old man (I am talking about the manager of this site) wearing a jersey and beeswax with a camera, but when I asked the person who seemed to be involved, "May I take pictures of the container drainage? The answer was, "Yes, from outside the cones," so anyone can take pictures.
Of course, you cannot see the rocket inside the container, but the huge shipping container alone is very powerful, and since there seemed to be no restrictions on photography, it is no wonder there are so many photos of rocket container transportation on the Internet.
Surprisingly unpopular rocket transport on the island
Rocket container draining and intra-island transportation rarely attracts crowds of spectators.
The people who come to watch the draining operation at Shimama Port are sparse, and there are few people watching the traffic light turn at the famous Kaminaka intersection, so there may be more people involved in the operation than spectators.
For the people of Tanegashima, the container movement is a familiar sight, so they may not come to see it very often.
For those who take pictures, it is a much easier environment to photograph than the festival-like crowds.
How do I know when a rocket container will be shipped on the island?
Transport within Rocket Island is not a secret, but does not appear to be actively promoted
Even if you are on Tanegashima, you may not be aware of this intra-island transportation because it is not publicized, but there is a way to find out the date and time of the intra-island transportation.
Traffic Control" sign stands on a road in Minami-Tane Town
The late-night traffic control signs in Minami-Tane Town are set up when there is a rocket transport on the island.
From the traffic control signs, the date and time of rocket container transportation within the island can be determined.
Information on traffic regulations is posted on the official website of Minami-Tane Town
Traffic regulation information for the transportation of rocket containers on the island will also be posted on the town hall's website, so you can check the date and time.
Information on rocket launches and places to see rocket launches will be carefully posted on the website of the town office, but it is best to read about intra-island transportation from the information on traffic regulations.
In many cases, the websites of launch-related companies do not list any information on land transportation within Tanegashima Island, so active PR cannot be expected, and it may be that they are trying to avoid congestion.
Ask the locals about the date of transportation on the island
If you want to see this on-island transport, which takes place only a few times a year, while on a surf trip, you can ask the island's innkeepers in advance.
When the sea is rough, the draining schedule is sometimes shifted
Some of you may have come to Tanegashima for the famous in-island transportation of rocket containers and were disappointed to find that the schedule for draining the containers was shifted due to rough seas.
The schedule for the in-island transportation of rocket containers is subject to change due to rough seas.
H3 rocket failure, good luck! Domestic H3 rocket transport scenery in the island, water draining scenery
You can see the artistic craftsmanship using two cranes
Photos of the whole rocket container "MIZUKIRI"
Rocket containers are transported to Shimama Port in the morning.
Two containers, one large and one small, are transported on the same ship, but the ship looks smaller from a distance.
When the ship arrives, you may be a little surprised at how big it is. The photo shows the opening of the deck of the ship. The part of the deck that looks like an inverted V on the ship is a foldable deck, which is located in two places in the front and back.
Two cranes for unloading are already standing by, and the "mizukiri" operation to unload the rocket from the ship is about to begin, and this is where I started taking pictures.
Some ships have a type that rolls up the deck like a shutter.
Craftsmanship by two cranes can be seen from here
First, the container is lifted by two cranes.
But how will they be lowered onto the trailers? But how are they going to get it down onto the trailer?
The two cranes work together to move one side of the container to the front of the crane.
I see. It looks like they are moving it from one side to the other, but this is a skilled craftsmanship of crane operators.
Since the H3 rocket is very important, we can see that the two cranes are carefully working in perfect coordination.
Most of the containers have been moved to the trailer side. It is breathtaking work.
The rocket container has been completely moved to the land side. The crane is truly a divine work of art!
The workers receiving the containers also begin to move.
The crane's craftsmanship continues. Now the container needs to be rotated 90° to match the direction of the trailer, and the crane slowly begins to turn it.
The container is now angled in the direction of the trailer, and with unmatched skill and character, the crane moves the container closer to the bed of the trailer.
The container is now directly above the trailer.
The trailer loads the front side of the container, and the back side of the container is placed on a separate self-propelled cart (bottom left).
The combination of the trailer and the self-propelled dolly in the back makes it possible to make smooth turns on the winding roads inside the Space Center.
The container is safely loaded onto the trailer, and the rest is up to the people waiting on land.
The container is now safely loaded on the trailer, and the rest is up to the people waiting on the ground.
Rocket container on special trailer
After the rocket containers are completely loaded, the crane, having completed its task, moves on. Its next activity is to return the empty containers.
Big, big, big! You can see how big the rocket is. This is the first stage of the rocket.
The second stage of the rocket, another slightly shorter container, will be unloaded next. I would like to see how it fits into the ship.
Let's look at the rocket container from the front.
It is still huge. I am looking forward to seeing it running on the public road. Another trailer with a second, smaller container can be seen in the back.
The first and second stage rockets carried by the two rocket containers will be assembled in the maintenance building of the Tanegashima Launch Complex to form a single rocket.
Rocket personnel regardless of weekends
I went to this photo shoot because it was a Saturday or Sunday and my company was on a holiday, but it seems that rocket-related workers work on weekends, days, and nights regardless of their launch-related jobs.
It is a tough job because not only the work related to the launch but also the business records are required.
The rocket container is waiting in the harbor for the nighttime transportation after the "mizukiri" operation to unload the rocket was successfully completed.
After confirming the "mizukiri", there will probably be other operations related to the transportation within the island at midnight on the day of the launch.
In Tanegashima, we can feel that rockets are launched thanks to the efforts of many people.
(As an aside, a rocket container was transported to the island later in the day, but there was some trouble on the news when the container almost fell off the rocket as it approached the launch site. (Aside) Later in the day, a rocket container was transported to the island, but as it approached the launch site, a problem occurred.
This article will not cover that issue.
H3 rocket failure, go for it! Domestic H3 rocket transported in a container on the island
The rocket transport departs from Shimama Port around 10:00 pm and passes the Kaminaka intersection (about 10 km from the port) at the midpoint about 2 hours later.
This is a popular place for photographing the transport on the island, but it usually passes in front of private homes and the intersection.
Also shows the scene of another aircraft (H2B rocket) being transported
Traffic signals on the transportation corridor can be turned around when the rocket passes
The rocket container shipping lanes on Tanegashima Island have both electric wires and traffic signs set a little high to allow the large containers to pass through.
Another interesting feature of Minami-Tane Town is a traffic light that can be turned around.
When a container passes, the direction of the signal can be changed by turning the signal with a string.
In this photo, a person is standing by with a radio in one hand, holding the string under the traffic light. By turning the traffic light by human power, the rocket container can pass through the intersection safely.
If you have a chance to see a rocket container transport on Tanegashima Island, please take a look at this traffic light as well.
Many people who come to see the late-night rocket container in-island transportation may not have noticed this primitive movable traffic signal.
There was a toy-like transportation trailer with a fancy design
As a way of thanking those of you who have seen this far, I would like to introduce you to an interesting design trailer that was once used.
What a flashy trailer, apparently a Mercedes Benz. The price looks awesome too (LOL).
The company that made this is great, but the transport company that employed it is also great.
You don't see this flashy, toy-like Mercedes Benz trailer very often on the Internet, do you?
I saw and photographed it once about 9 years ago, but since then it has been a different vehicle and I haven't seen it at all since.
This trailer may be valuable for transporting rocket containers on Tanegashima.
Midway between Shimama Port and the Space Center, the Kaminaka Crossing is very popular for viewing rocket shipments
The rocket container is transported about 20 km around midnight, so there are many points of interest to watch.
The more difficult the location is for the rocket, the more popular it is with the high type of spectators.
Here is a photo gallery of the doozy of a rocket container transport at the Kaminaka intersection.
H3 rocket failure, go for it! Summary of domestic H3 rocket transport on the island
The launch of the H3 rocket test model ended in failure, but we are looking forward to the next one.
How was the view of the rocket transport on the island, which can only be seen on Tanegashima?
You can only experience a large rocket launch on Tanegashima, so please try to feel the island closest to space during your surfing trips.
We wish for the successful launch of Japan's new large rocket H3 in the future.
Thank you for reading to the end.