Home World News Japan’s Space One Rocket Explodes Minutes After Take-Off

Japan’s Space One Rocket Explodes Minutes After Take-Off

Japan's Space One rocket launch is the country's first step towards entering the commercial space race as other companies such as SpaceX have already done. Source: Twitter

Japan’s Space One rocket exploded seconds into its launch on Wednesday, according to a Reuters report.  The rocket was carrying a government satellite.

“The launch of the first Kairos rocket was executed, but we took a measure to abort the flight,” Space One said in a statement, adding that “details are being investigated.”

No casualties were reported.

If the launch had succeeded, Space One would have been the first Japanese company to put a satellite in space and enabled Japan to enter the commercial space market.

The rocket blasted off from the company’s launch pad in the Wakayama region of western Japan before crashing seconds later.

“The rocket terminated the flight after judging that the achievement of its mission would be difficult,” company president Masakazu Toyoda said according to a New York Times report. He added that a thorough investigation would be made.

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Space One exemplifies Japan’s bid to enter the world space market. According to a report by the World Economic Forum, the size of the “global space business market, which reached $469 billion in 2021, is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2040.” Coming to Japan the report commented on the big strides the Japanese government was making to enter this market.

“Japan’s space industry is worth approximately JPY1.2 trillion (around $8.6 billion) and the Japanese government wants to double that to JPY2.4 trillion (around $17 billion) by the early 2030s,” the report said.

Space One’s rocket launch has been beset with delays. According to the Japan Times the rocket was scheduled to launch in 2021 but it was postponed five times due to Covid-19 and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The group, however, remains determined to provide “space courier services” to domestic and international clients. Toyoda says they will look to launch up 20 rockets a year by the late 2020s according to the report.

But Japan’s interest in promoting companies like Space One is not just commercial. The launch of a rocket with a commercial satellite which has not been achieved so far by the country is seen as necessary by the defence ministry. A release by the MoD Japan made it clear that the “threat to the stable use of outer space is increasing” and that was primarily due to the use of satellites for defence purposes to ensure “military superiority.”

“Such satellites include image acquisition satellites for reconnoitering military facilities and targets, early warning satellites for detecting the launch of ballistic missiles, satellites for gathering radio signals, communication satellites for communications between military units, and positioning satellites for navigating naval vessels and aircraft and enhancing the precision of weapons systems. In outer space, various countries are thus rapidly developing their capabilities to ensure their military superiority,” the MoD release said.