Japan's maiden satellite launch by private firm fails

Japan's maiden satellite launch by private firm fails
2 min read

The inaugural rocket launch of Japanese company Space One failed on Wednesday as its small solid-fuel rocket Kairos exploded in midair and disintegrated moments after liftoff, in the first attempt by Japan's private sector to put a satellite in orbit.

Shortly after 11:00 a.m. local time, the rocket was launched as scheduled carrying a small satellite from Space Port Kii in Kushimoto, western Japanese prefecture of Wakayama.

Live footage showed that the rocket exploded in midair seconds after liftoff, and burning debris of the rocket emitted thick smoke. There have been no reports of related injuries.

The four-stage rocket, under the full name of Kii-based Advanced and Instant Rocket System, had three solid-fuel stages and one liquid-fuel stage.

Approximately 18 meters long, with a diameter of about 1.35 meters and a weight of about 23 tonnes, its payload capacity to low Earth orbit is 250 kilograms, and to sun-synchronous orbit is 150 kilograms.

By developing the rocket, Space One is aiming to generate the world's fastest space transportation tool from contract signing to launch, but the launch of the rocket, originally planned for March 2022, was delayed multiple times due to various reasons.

In 2019, Hokkaido-based Interstellar Technologies sent Japan's first privately developed rocket into space, reaching an altitude of over 100 kilometers from Earth. This marked the first successful launch of a rocket developed by a Japanese private enterprise, but that rocket was not carrying a satellite payload.


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