Japan's Epsilon rocket ordered to self-destruct after launch failure

Asian Tech Press (Oct 12) -- Japan's space agency said Wednesday it had sent a self-destruct order to its Epsilon rocket after a failed launch.

At around 9:50 a.m. local time Wednesday, Japan's Epsilon-6 rocket failed to launch at the Uchinoura Space Center in the southwestern prefecture of Kagoshima, after it malfunctioned during lift-off and received a self-destruct command.

It was the sixth launch of the Epsilon rocket and the first commercial satellite launch, carrying eight microsatellites, including two satellites from space engineering venture iQPS Inc. and loads from several universities.

The Epsilon rocket made its first successful flight in September 2013, following five consecutive successful launches prior to this failure.

Developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), "Epsilon" is a solid-fuel rocket of about 30 meters in length for launching small satellites at low cost.

JAXA said that the rocket could not continue to fly safely after the launch, and the detailed cause of the failure is under investigation.

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