BEACON TRANSCRIPT – On Saturday, Japan tried to launch a rocket into space, following the astounding success of SpaceX. However, the mission attempted by Japan failed, the rocket ending up in the ocean. The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) issued a statement on the situation.
The Japanese rocket took off but it did not succeed in reaching the orbit. The small vehicle was an experimental rocket called SS-520-4 and it was carrying a 6.6 pound satellite, TRICOM-1, into orbit. After the first part of the flight going on well, some communication issues appeared and forced the flight controllers to abandon the mission.
As mentioned before, SS-520-4 was an experimental rocket and the flight on Saturday was the first it was performing. The rocket was a modified version of SS-520, a rocket able of reaching 621 miles or more (that is around 1,000 km). The modification consisted of the addition of a third engine on the top, in order to give the rocket the boost necessary for reaching the orbit.
SS-520-4 performed the takeoff at Japan Time 8:33 AM, from Uchinoura Space Observatory. At the beginning, everything was going according to the plan. However, twenty seconds after takeoff, the communication between the rocket and JAXA was interrupted. This caused them to abort the mission and abandon the control of the rocket.
JAXA declared that the first two stages of the launch went as planned. This means that the first “level” of the rocket separated from the second. However, the ignition of the engine on the second level did not start. This caused the rocket and the satellite attached to it to fall into a calculated spot in the ocean, southeast of Uchinoura.
NASA declared that, if the mission had been successful, it would have meant the first launch of such a small vehicle into the orbit of our planet. The SS-520-4 rocket was only a bit over 31 feet tall and had only 20 inches in diameter. The launch was meant to prove that even such a small rocket could put a TRICOM-1 satellite into the orbit. The satellite should have taken pictures of Earth and then send them from space.
The failure of the Japanese mission might serve as evidence that such small vehicles cannot reach the orbit, but after an improvement of the technologies this may be possible soon enough.
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