Rocket Ordered to Self-Destruct Minutes After Liftoff

Japan's space agency is investigating failure of Epsilon-6 satellite-carrying rocket
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2022 1:09 PM CDT

A Japanese rocket carrying eight satellites was ordered to self-destruct minutes after liftoff in the biggest failure for Japan's space agency in nearly 20 years. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency—JAXA—said in a statement that the self-destruction command was sent to the Epsilon-6 rocket because it had "deviated from the target altitude and it was judged that it could not be put into orbit around the Earth." JAXA said the cause of the problem is being investigated. "We sincerely apologize for not being able to meet the expectations of the local community and everyone involved, as well as everyone involved with the onboard satellites," the agency said

JAXA says the flight was aborted less than seven minutes after takeoff from the Uchinoura Space Center and the 85-foot, solid-fuel rocket and its payloads apparently fell into the sea east of the Philippines, reports the AP. There were no reports of injuries. The last time a JAXA rocket was ordered to self-destruct was in November 2003, when the launch of an H2A satellite-carrying rocket was aborted after a booster failed to separate, Kyodo News reports.

This is the first failure of a rocket in the Epsilon series, which was first launched in 2013. The failed launch was the first Epsilon launch to carry private satellites, and authorities acknowledge this is a major setback for JAXA's plans to develop a commercial satellite launch business. Japanese firm IHI Aerospace plans to launch an upgraded version of the rocket, the Epsilon-S, next year. (Read more Japan stories.)

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