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Space One rocket explodes after liftoff from Japan private launch pad

Space One rocket explodes after liftoff from Japan private launch pad

Baku, March 13, AZERTAC

A Space One Co. satellite-carrying rocket exploded Wednesday shortly after liftoff from a spaceport in western Japan, dashing hopes for an attempt that would have made the company the first private Japanese firm to get a satellite successfully into orbit, according to Kyodo News.

The company's 18-meter-long Kairos rocket failed in its launch from Space Port Kii in Kushimoto, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan's first commercial launch site. It was announced shortly after that "flight termination measures" had been implemented.

Local firefighters were dispatched to the scene. Police said there have been no reports of casualties so far.

The rocket exploded in midair around five seconds after liftoff, as fragments believed to be from the projectile were scattered around the area and the scene was blanketed by white smoke.

The government satellite that was on the rocket is believed to have been destroyed in the blast.

The cries of the many people who had gathered at an observation venue located approximately 2 kilometers southwest of Space Port Kii could be heard upon the announcement that the launch had failed.

"It's a great shock," said Yoko Okada, a 17-year-old high school student who aspires to a space-related career. "It's a shame I couldn't see the rocket, but I hope they persevere and don't give up."

Jun Ueyama, 45, an official from the city of Gobo said, "I'm feeling sad. I took a day off (to come see this)."

The launch was initially scheduled for Saturday but was delayed after the company discovered the presence of a ship in a section of the ocean it had designated as needing to be empty for safety.

According to the Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Center, the satellite on board the rocket was meant to be able to perform a part of the functions of an existing government satellite in monitoring military facilities in North Korea.

Space One, established in 2018, seeks to commercialize space delivery services by lowering costs and offering rocket launches at high frequency. It aims to send into space 30 rockets a year by the 2030s.

The company is aiming for short lead times of launches less than one year after concluding contracts with customers.

The company was set up by Canon Electronics Inc., IHI Aerospace Co., Shimizu Corp. and the government-owned Development Bank of Japan.

Plans to launch its first rocket, initially set to take place by the end of March 2022 at the latest, were postponed four times due to the pandemic and logistics delays.

 

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