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Japanese startup's rocket launch fails over engine problem

 

June 14

A compact rocket developed by a Japanese aerospace startup has failed to reach space due to an engine problem on Sunday, which is the latest setback for a project that has delayed several times.

Interstellar Technologies Inc., which is based in the country's northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido, launched the MOMO-5 rocket at around 5:15 a.m. from a site in the town of Taiki. The rocket's engine made an emergency stop 70 seconds after liftoff and the rocket fell into the sea.

According to the company, part of the engine was damaged during the launch and the fuselage could no longer maintain its orientation. Preliminary analysis showed that the rocket reached an altitude of about 11 km.

This was the company's fifth launch of the "MOMO" rocket. The third rocket launched in May last year was the only one that reached the target altitude of 100 km, making the company the first private Japanese enterprise to send a rocket to the edge of space.

Takahiro Inagawa, president of the company, said at an online press conference, "It was a disappointing result, but there were no major problems except for the damaged (engine) part. We would like to take necessary steps toward the next (launch)."