A Japanese Space Rocket Was Given The Order To Self-Destruct

Several minutes after liftoff at the Uchinoura Space Center in the Kagoshima prefecture of southern Japan, a satellite-carrying unmanned rocket had to be stopped with a self-destruct command, according to Japan’s space agency.

Epsilon-6 rocket

The Epsilon rocket lifts off from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Uchinoura Space Center in the southwestern Japan prefecture of Kagoshima on October 12, 2022.

On Wednesday, the Epsilon-6 rocket was launched unsuccessfully by Japan for the first time in nearly 20 years. After less than seven minutes in the air, it was forced to be terminated since it was unable to orbit the Earth.

After the mission was canceled, Hiroshi Yamakawa, president of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), apologized profusely for not living up to expectations.

Yamakawa made a commitment to support the investigation into what went wrong.

Japan’s NHK broadcaster highly expected that Wednesday’s launch of commercial satellites into space would open the door for the space agency to enter the expanding satellite industry

Yasuhiro Funo, the project manager for JAXA, revealed that a technical problem was discovered immediately before the launch’s third and final stage when the last strong booster was due to be ignited.

The location of the spacecraft’s potential landing triggered security concerns. He added, “We ordered the rocket’s destruction since we had no idea where it would go if we were unable to place it in the orbit we had intended.”

According to JAXA representatives, the company decided the rocket couldn’t fly safely and enter the intended orbit, so it issued a self-destruction signal. Officials stated that the rocket and payloads were likely to have landed in the sea east of the Philippines.

Eight payloads were carried by the Epsilon rocket. Two of these were produced by a commercial business with its headquarters in Fukuoka, another southern prefecture. It was the first launch of a commercially produced payload on an Epsilon rocket.

Before JAXA planned to create another variant, Epsilon-S, the Epsilon-6 rocket was the last iteration, measuring 26 meters (85 feet) long, 95.6 tons, and using solid fuel.

Next year, a Vietnamese satellite will be launched commercially by the Japanese company IHI Aerospace using the modified Epsilon-S.

JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata aboard Crew-5

Japan has one of the largest space programs in the world. And last week, JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata launched aboard Crew-5 to the International Space Station.

After sending a space probe called Hayabusa-2 to the asteroid Ryugu, where it recovered unspoiled material currently being examined for hints about the origins of life, JAXA has been under the spotlight.

The launch attempt on Wednesday had been postponed from last Friday because of the position of a positioning satellite in the universe.


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