Japan: Rocket explodes seconds after launch

The launch was scheduled for Saturday, but it was postponed after a ship entered the surrounding restricted maritime area.
Japan: Rocket explodes seconds after launch

Kairos, a small, solid-fueled rocket built by Japan's Space One, detonated shortly after its initial launch on Wednesday, as the organisation attempted to become the first Japanese company to launch a satellite into orbit.

The 59-foot solid-fuel rocket detonated seconds after liftoff at 11:01 a.m., leaving behind a big cloud of smoke, a fire, rocket debris, and firefighting water sprays near the launch pad, which were visible on local television live streams.

The agency said that the flight was "interrupted" after takeoff near the tip of western Japan's hilly Kii peninsula, and that the situation was being investigated.

There was no clear indication of what had triggered the explosion.

No casualties were reported near the launch pad, and the fire was extinguished, said Governor Shuhei Kishimoto.

According to the space agency, the launch is highly automated and requires approximately a dozen employees at the ground control centre.

Kairos carried an experimental government spacecraft capable of temporarily replacing intelligence satellites in orbit if they go offline.

The space agency had scheduled the launch for Saturday, but it was postponed after a ship entered the surrounding restricted maritime area.

Despite Japan's small size in the space race, the country's rocket engineers are striving to construct less expensive vehicles in order to meet rising demand for satellite launches from the government and global clients.

Space One, headquartered in Tokyo, was founded in 2018 by a coalition of Japanese corporations including Canon Electronics, IHI's aerospace engineering unit, construction firm Shimizu, and the state-backed Development Bank of Japan.

Video Credit: The Associated Press

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Japan: Rocket explodes seconds after launch


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