Japan's New H3 Rocket Fails to Lift Off

Science Society

Tanegashima, Kagoshima Pref., Feb. 17 (Jiji Press)--Japan's new H3 rocket was unable to lift off from its Tanegashima Space Center in the southwestern prefecture of Kagoshima as scheduled Friday morning, after the vehicle's booster engines failed to ignite, the country's space agency said.

The vehicle was scheduled to lift off at 10:37 a.m. (1:37 a.m. GMT) to mark the maiden flight of the first unit of the country's new flagship rocket. Its main engines ignited about six seconds before the scheduled liftoff, but solid rocket boosters failed to ignite, leaving the rocket stranded on the launchpad.

"The control equipment for the first stage of the rocket detected an anomaly and did not send an SRB ignition signal, so we canceled the launch," Masashi Okada, the H3 project manager at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, told a news conference.

According to Okada, the H3 rocket and the satellite mounted on it are in good condition. JAXA now aims to launch the vehicle by the end of March after examining the cause of the trouble.

The control equipment checks the first stage of the rocket before the ignition of SRBs, which cannot be reversed.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press