Japan’s hopes of developing a cheaper alternative to SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets were dashed on Tuesday when the country’s space agency was forced to destroy its flagship H3 vehicle after its second-stage engine failed.
When the rocket’s second-stage engine failed shortly after liftoff from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan on Tuesday morning, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) issued a self-destruct order. It’s the second failure in less than a month, following a failed launch in February that was attributed to faulty rocket boosters.
JAXA said afterwards that it had issued a destruct command as there was “no possibility of achieving the mission.”
The H3 was carrying a payload of ground-mapping technology intended for use in disaster management scenarios that would “cover all of the land areas not only of Japan but also across the entire world,” according to Tokyo.