Japan's New 'Smart Rocket' Fails to Blast Off
Launch of self-monitoring Epsilon delayed
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 27, 2013 1:30 AM CDT
The Epsilon rocket stayed on the launch pad at the Uchinoura Space Center today.   (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

(Newser) – Japan's new era of "smart rockets" got off to a less than auspicious start today when the launch of its new Epsilon rocket was canceled seconds before blast-off. The Epsilon, the country's first new rocket in 12 years, is capable of running its own status checks using artificial intelligence and Japan hopes to use it become more competitive in the international satellite-launch industry, Reuters reports. According to Japan's space agency, the rocket is so intelligent that monitoring work that used to be done by a control room can be performed using a single laptop. There has been no word on the reason for the delay—or on whether the rocket ordered it itself.