Mini Rocket Failed to Launch
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) attempted and failed to launch a Mini rocket off the Uchinoura Space Center January 15.
One of the world's smallest rockets was designed to boost in three stages but refused to relay data after the initial stage. The rocket was thereafter brought down to the sea.
The rocket cruised well after the launch for 20 seconds, when it discontinued relaying data on the condition of the rocket body. The flight control center having cancelled igniting the second stage, both the rocket and the super-mini satellite were brought down into the sea within the hazard area.
The super-mini satellite features a number of consumer parts - those widely used for home appliances - to cut down on the cost and to build confidence in such parts.
The JAXA officials are yet to pinpoint what had caused the failure this time, but the use of consumer parts to this extent is reported to be one of the focal points of investigation.
JAXA's Assistant professor Hiroto Hanyu comments:
"We dared this time a challenging technological research. We'll do a thorough study on what happened during the flight, arrive at due results and judge what we ought to do henceforth."
Prof. Shinichi Nakasuga of Tokyo University, leader of the developing team of the super-mini rocket commented:
"It was unfortunate that it failed, but it is important that the project go on regardless of the result.
We should dig up the causes of this failure and keep on promoting the use of consumer products."
The mini rocket was newly developed with a three-stage rocket instead of the conventional two-stage rocket used for atmospheric observation. Its proto-type called SS-520 has been launched twice so far without fail.
The aggregate cost of launching this time was roughly 400 million yen - one-several tenths of the full-size satellite. (Nathan Shiga)