TOKYO (AP) — Japan has postponed the launch of a new rocket it hopes will be a cheaper and more efficient way of putting satellites into space.

The three-stage Epsilon rocket was to lift off from a space center on the southern Japan island of Kyushu on Tuesday, but the launch was postponed for unspecified reasons.

The Epsilon is the first new rocket design for Japan since the H2A was introduced in 2001. The H2A continues to be Japan's primary rocket but officials are hoping development of the Epsilon will lead to improvements in the much more costly H2A program as well. Japan hopes to compete more aggressively in the international rocket-launching business.

The rocket was to carry the SPRINT-A, the first space telescope specifically designed to observe other planets.