Japan’s inaugural flight of the H3 rocket, the country’s newest flagship, ended in failure as the second-stage engine failed to ignite, prompting the mission to be aborted.
The H3 was launched from the Tanegashima Space Center in southwestern Japan at 10:37 a.m. on Tuesday. It was meant to deploy an Earth observation satellite into orbit at an altitude of approximately 675 kilometers in about 17 minutes.
Approximately eight minutes after liftoff, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced that the second-stage engine ignition had not been verified.
At 10:52 a.m., it was announced that the rocket had been instructed to self-destruct. JAXA is currently examining the cause of the problem.
The most recent H3 rocket launch failure occurred in October, involving the Epsilon-6 rocket.
The H3 rocket succeeds the H2A, and at a maximum height of 63 meters, it is Japan’s largest.
The aim was to increase the payload capacity of the H2A by 1.3 times while reducing the current launch cost by about half. JAXA and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries have collaborated for more than nine years and invested more than 200 billion yen, or around 1.5 billion dollars in developing the new flagship rocket.
Originally planned to launch in the fiscal year 2020, the first H3 rocket launch was postponed due to complications with the main engine’s development.
On February 17, the rocket’s scheduled liftoff was abandoned due to an abnormality discovered in the first-stage system. JAXA claims that corrective measures have been taken.
H3 rocket launch
The H3 rocket launch failure on Tuesday will likely have a significant impact, as the H3 rocket launch is critical to Japan’s future space development.
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