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
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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

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