Japanese Private Rocket Fails to Reach Outer Space

Science Society Technology

Taiki, Hokkaido, June 14 (Jiji Press)--A rocket launched by a Japanese startup on Sunday failed to reach outer space, with its engine stopped after the liftoff due to a problem.

The Momo5 small observation rocket of Interstellar Technologies Inc. was launched at 5:15 a.m. (8:15 p.m. Saturday GMT) from a site in the town of Taiki in the northernmost Japan prefecture of Hokkaido.

About 36 seconds later, however, fragments were found being scattered from around the engine nozzle. The engine was stopped some 34 seconds after the incident as the Taiki-based company judged that the rocket’s propulsive force cannot be maintained.

Momo5, a single-stage rocket using ethanol as liquid fuel, fell into the Pacific, at a point some 4 kilometers from the coast of the town, after reaching an altitude of only 11.5 kilometers. A rocket flying to an altitude of 100 kilometers is recognized as being in outer space.

Momo5, about 10 meters in height and about 50 centimeters in diameter, is believed to have suffered damage, Interstellar Technologies President Takahiro Inagawa said, adding that the company will look into the cause.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press