Japan Fails in Launch of Satellite-Carrying Small Rocket (News)

Science Technology

Kimotsuki, Kagoshima Pref., Jan. 15 (Jiji Press)—The launch of Japan's SS-520-4, one of the world's smallest satellite-carrying rockets, ended in failure on Sunday due to problems with data communication, in a setback for a project to develop a low-cost commercial space business.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, launched the rocket from its Uchinoura Space Center in the town of Kimotsuki in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan, at 8:33 a.m. (11:33 p.m. Saturday GMT).

But about 20 seconds later, JAXA became unable to receive data from the SS-520-4, forcing it to cancel firing the second stage of the three-stage solid-fueled rocket. The rocket fell into the sea.

The SS-520-4 was designed to put TRICOM-1, a 3-kilogram microsatellite developed by the University of Tokyo, into an elliptical orbit around Earth at an altitude of about 180-1,500 kilometers.

At a news conference, Habu Hiroto, associate professor of JAXA said the launch fell through. "It's very regrettable. The development (of the rocket) was very difficult," Habu said. "We'll think about the next step after determining the cause of the failure."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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