Yesterday was the inaugural flight of JAXA’s H3 rocket, but the mission went awry. The first part of the mission went well, but the second stage did not succeed.
During the second stage, the rocket was supposed to separate and new engines were to start, but the rocket lost speed and altitude, and it was not possible to confirm that the second stage had succeeded. Therefore, seven minutes after launch, a destruct command was sent to the rocket.
The H3 rocket, which is intended to replace Japan’s current H-IIA rocket, was supposed to lift off in mid-February, but the engines did not start as intended. When the rocket was destroyed, it was out of sight, so do not expect an explosion in the video above.
The failed launch comes after a decade of development carried out jointly by JAXA and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Issues getting the rocket’s powerful LE-9 liquid hydrogen-liquid oxygen engines ready resulted in significant delays to the first launch.
“The cutting off of Russian rockets from this market, combined with the absence of a competing European offering, open some new possibilities for Japan’s launchers, which were historically absent from the commercial market,” said Aliberti.