Japan’s Bid to Launch World’s Smallest Satellite-Carrying Rocket Fails
Carrying a miniature satellite for observation of the Earth’s surface, the No. 4 vehicle of the SS-520 series lifted off at 8:33 a.m. from the Uchinoura Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said; Japan Times reported.
But the agency aborted ignition of the second stage three minutes after discovering a glitch in the communication system.
The rocket and its payload fell into the sea off the coast of Uchinoura.
JAXA said it has no further plans to launch a rocket of this size.
About the size of a utility pole — 10 meters long and 50 centimeters in diameter — the rocket had been developed as a possible vehicle for launching minisatellites, a growing segment of the space business worldwide.
The satellite carrier, roughly one-fifth the size of JAXA’s mainstay H-2A launch vehicle, was a three-stage rocket based on a two-stage model that the agency has been operating.
It was designed to place a satellite weighing up to 4 kilograms in orbit at an altitude of up to 2,000 kilometers.