The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) intentionally destroyed a new H3 rocket just minutes after its launch on Tuesday after the ignition failed for the rocket’s second stage.
This incident comes three weeks after an aborted launch due to a different glitch.
The H3 rocket – the country’s first new rocket series in over two decades – blasted off from the Tanegashima Space Center.
The second stage had separated as designed and JAXA officials have apologized for the failure.
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An H3 rocket lifts off from Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima, southern Japan, Tuesday, March 7, 2023. (Kyodo News via AP)
It said a command was sent to destroy the $1.47 billion rocket about 14 minutes after liftoff.
JAXA’s director for launch implementation, Yasuhiro Funo, said the second stage and its payload fell into the sea off the eastern coast of the Philippines and that the rocket was unsafe and had to be destroyed. No damages or injuries were reported from the rocket.
People watch as an H3 rocket is launched, at a field in Minamitane town in Kagoshima, southern Japan Tuesday, March 7, 2023. (Kyodo News via AP)
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The rocket was carrying an Advanced Land Observation Satellite (ALOS), which collects data for disaster response and mapmaking, as well as an experimental infrared sensor developed by the Defense Ministry that can monitor military activity, including missile launches.
Hiroshi Yamakawa, president of JAXA, with Yasuhiro Funo, director for launch implementation, speak during an online news conference, Japan, Tuesday, March 7, 2023. (JAXA via AP)
There is currently no plan for an alternative satellite launch to replace the earlier generation of the ALOS.
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“Our top priority is to do everything we can to find the cause and regain the trust in our rockets,” JAXA President Hiroshi Yamakawa told reporters. “We need to figure out what we should do to successfully achieve the next launch.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.