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  • Writer's picturePrabhjot Singh Maan

Japan Space Agency rocket carrying 8 satellites fails

Updated: Oct 25, 2022

The Japanese Epsilon-6 rocket was not in the right position to orbit around the Earth and its flight had to be aborted less than seven minutes after takeoff from the Uchinoura Space Center.

A rocket carrying eight satellites on Wednesday had to be terminated by a self-destruction command after it failed shortly after liftoff, according to Japan's space agency. This was the nation's first unsuccessful rocket launch in nearly 20 years.

Approximately seven minutes after liftoff from the Uchinoura Space Center in the southern Japanese prefecture of Kagoshima, the Epsilon-6 rocket had to be aborted because it was not in the proper position to orbit the Earth, according to Hiroshi Yamakawa, president of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Yamakawa added, "We profoundly apologize for our inability to live up to the expectations of local officials and those who were involved in the creation of the satellites." He also promised to help with the inquiry into what went wrong.

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.

The rocket and its payloads, according to JAXA, are thought to have crashed into the ocean east of the Philippines. The agency stated that it was still looking into what caused the incident.

Eight payloads were carried by the Epsilon rocket, two of which 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.

The Epsilon-6 launch's director, Yasuhiro Uno, stated that the failure might have an impact on Epsilon's future launch plans. Next year, a Vietnamese satellite will be launched commercially by the Japanese company IHI Aerospace using the enhanced version Epsilon-S. Our primary goal is to look into the issue and forcefully implement solutions, according to Uno.

The Epsilon-6 rocket, which is 26 metres (85 feet) long, weighs 95.6 ton(s) and uses solid fuel. It is the last iteration before JAXA aims to create the Epsilon-S variant. The Epsilon-6 is a tiny launch vehicle that has undergone five revisions since the early 2010s as JAXA works to establish a commercial satellite launch enterprise.

Since the initial version of the Epsilon series was introduced in 2013, Wednesday's failure broke all previous success records. It was also a first for JAXA following the failure of its H2A rocket in 2003. The launch had been postponed from last Friday to today because of the position of a positioning satellite in the universe.

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