Japanese space rocket ‘self-destructs’ after launch fails


A rocket, carrying eight satellites, launched by Japan on Wednesday failed to reach its set orbit, the country’s space agency said.

An Epsilon-6 rocket was blasted off from Uchinoura Space Center in the southwestern Kagoshima province at around 9.50 a.m. (0050GMT), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said in a statement.

However, around seven minutes later, the rocket “deviated from the target and … it could not be put into orbit around the earth,” the JAXA said.

It was the first time that an Epsilon rocket was carrying private satellites among its cargo.

After the rocket’s failure, the agency “ordered” the rocket “to self-destruct” at around 9.57 a.m.

An investigation into the failure of the rocket has been launched, the agency informed.

Last time, it was in November of 2003 that the JAXA had issued a self-destruct command after it had launched an H2A rocket.

Although five models of Epsilon rockets have shown successful performances, this was the first “self-destruct” command issued to the sixth model of the rocket which is 26 meters (85 feet) long and weighs around 95.6 tons.

The rocket was originally scheduled to be launched last Friday but was delayed “due to unfavorable satellite positioning.”



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