Rocket explodes and plummets to ground just seconds after lift off in Japan

The 10-metre pencil rocket lifted just slightly off its launch pad before crashing to the ground and disappearing into a fireball following an engine failure

Chiara Giordano
Saturday 30 June 2018 16:31
Explosion as rocket crashes after lift-off in Japan

A rocket burst into flames and crashed back down to the ground just seconds after taking off in Japan.

The MOMO-2 rocket, developed by Japanese start-up company Interstellar Technologies, exploded and plummeted back down to earth just six seconds after lift-off.

It was launched early Saturday in Taiki town on Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost main island and was supposed to reach as high as 100 kilometres (62 miles) into space.

But television footage showed that the 10-metre (33-foot) pencil rocket lifted only slightly from its launch pad before dropping to the ground, disappearing in a fireball.

The explosion did not cause any injuries.

Interstellar Technologies president Takahiro Inagawa said he believed the rocket suffered a glitch in its main engine.

Saturday's failure was the second after the rocket's first launch last July.

Associated Press contributed to this report

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in