Tokyo, Mar 7 (EFE).- The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on Tuesday sent a self-destruct order to its powerful new H3 rocket minutes after it took off on its maiden flight due to an apparent failure in its second stage engine.
The rocket, developed jointly by JAXA and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center, in the southwestern Kagoshima at 10:37 am on Tuesday but minutes after takeoff its second-stage engine failed to ignite, prompting the Japanese space agency to send the self-destruct order.
An earlier launch attempt on Feb. 17 was aborted after the solid rocket boosters of the new flagship rocket did not ignite.
The launch of the H3 rocket has been delayed several times in recent years.
The rocket’s maiden flight was originally scheduled for March 2021 but the date was pushed back by about two years due to problems with its newly developed LE-9 first stage engine.
The H3, which is set to replace the H2-A and H2-B models used by JAXA to put satellites into orbit, is the first space rocket to employ an expander bleed cycle for the first stage engine, which produces higher engine thrust but at the expense of efficiency.
The rocket, which is the first update to Japan’s launch vehicle in over two decades, is supposed to launch the Advanced Land Observing Satellite-3, also known as DAICHI-3, which will be used to monitor the situation in disaster-affected areas. EFE