Home WORLD NEWS Japan’s First Commercial Orbital Launch Attempt Fails As Space One Firm’s Kairos Rocket Explodes After Liftoff. WATCH

Japan’s First Commercial Orbital Launch Attempt Fails As Space One Firm’s Kairos Rocket Explodes After Liftoff. WATCH

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Japan’s First Commercial Orbital Launch Attempt Fails As Space One Firm’s Kairos Rocket Explodes After Liftoff. WATCH

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Japan’s first private-sector orbital launch attempt failed as Tokyo-based commercial firm Space One’s Kairos rocket exploded shortly after liftoff on March 13, 2024. Kairos is a small, solid-fuelled rocket, and had it successfully reached orbit, Space One would have become the first Japanese private company to place a satellite in orbit. 

The rocket lifted off at 2:01 am GMT (7:31 am IST), and exploded seconds later, media reports said. Videos of the explosion showed large clouds of smoke, fire, and rocket fragments near the launch pad.

Where was Kairos launched from? What was it carrying?

Kairos was launched from Wakayama Prefecture, a mountainous area filled with trees in Kii Peninsula, Japan. The rocket was carrying an experimental government satellite that could have been used to temporarily replace intelligent satellites in orbit if they went offline. 

In order to put out the fire, water was sprayed towards the explosion spot. 

Space One had delayed the launch several times. On March 11, the firm made the last postponement because a ship was spotted in a risk area, a report by The Associated Press (AP) said, citing Japanese media reports. 

There are no reports of damage or injuries caused as a result of the explosion, and the fire has been extinguished. 

After being launched from the Kii Peninsula, the flight was interrupted, Space One said, according to a Reuters report. The firm is investigating the cause behind the explosion. 

The launch of Kairos was automated, and few personnel were present at the ground control centre, Space One said.

Kairos stands for Kii-based Advanced and Instant Rocket System. Also, Kairos means ‘time’ in Greek. 

ALSO READ | Japan Moon Sniper: SLIM Lander Makes Soft Landing On Moon, JAXA Confirms. All About It

More about Japan’s space sector

Japan’s rocket developers are aiming to manufacture cheaper launch vehicles to leverage the growing satellite launch market.

In January 2024, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully soft-landed the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) on the Moon, making Japan the fifth country to achieve a lunar soft landing. 

Space One was founded in July 2018 by investments from Canon Electronics, IHI Aerospace, Shimizu Corporation, and the Development Bank of Japan.



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