BY | August 27, 2013

This was going to be a showcase of its increasing space might. But Japan’s Rocket 1 or Epsilon rocket launch aborted 18 seconds before liftoff

In a major setback, Japan suffered a humiliating loss after its rocket, a first in 12 years, failed to take off. This is the second failed attempt of the country who had earlier failed to launch Epsilon rocket due to a computer glitch.

The recent incident had caused a major setback to Japan as doubts are being raised over its ability to become a part of growing multi-billion dollar satellite launch industry. The countdown to the launch that was being undertaken at the Uchinoura launch Center was halted in the last 19 seconds before the launch. The broadcast of the countdown was being made live over the Internet in both English and Japanese language. According to the media reports, the launch was halted in the final second as some “irregularity” was detected.

The Epsilon that is named for the fifth letter of the Greek alphabet is a three-stage rocket that is is 24.4 meters (80 feet) high, about half the size of Japan’s workhorse H2A rocket, and weighs 91 metric tons (100.31 tons). It was termed as the new, low-cost alternative and was earmarked to carry a telescope into space for observation of the solar system.

Commenting upon the incident, Yukihiro Kumagai, an analyst at Jefferies & Co securities in Tokyo, said: “This was the first flight and it was already postponed once and now will be postponed again. Inevitably, this will raise some questions, but overall it is unlikely to have much influence. The Epsilon is not scheduled for another flight until 2015.”

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