Interstellar Technology's second rocket crashes seconds after liftoff in Hokkaido

30 Juin, 2018, 21:37 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Interstellar Technology's second rocket crashes seconds after liftoff in Hokkaido

A combo of video grabs provided by Interstellar Technologies shows the failed launch of the rocket MOMO-2 in Taiki town on Hokkaido.

A rocket developed by a maverick Japanese entrepreneur and convicted fraudster exploded shortly after liftoff Saturday, in a major blow to his bid to send Japan's first privately backed rocket into space.

TAIKI, Hokkaido-A start-up backed by Internet entrepreneur Takafumi Horie failed for a second time June 30 to launch an affordable rocket into outer space.

The company's president Takahiro Inagawa apologised for the failure as an investigation was launched.

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There were no immediate reports of injuries from the failed 5:30 a.m. launch, the second experienced by Interstellar Technologies Inc.

While noting that nothing has been decided regarding another launch, he said, "I feel that I would like to keep giving it a shot". Last July, it tried to get its Momo-1 rocket to an altitude of over 100 km but had to abort after losing contact some 70 seconds into the flight. "We have to find ways to improve", he added.

The project was started in 2005 by maverick entrepreneur Takafumi Horie, founder of internet service provider Livedoor, who was joined by science journalists and other space fans in an effort to develop a small, lightweight and low-priced rocket to send information satellites into space. It originally planned to launch Momo-2 in late April but pushed back the date due to a nitrogen leak. The space venture raised about 28.4 million yen ($257,000) through crowd-founding.

About 600 people who had gathered to observe the launch in the Hokkaido town watched as the rocket fell from the sky in flames.

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