Tokyo, Feb 17 (EFE).- Japan’s flagship H3 rocket failed to take off for its maiden flight on Friday after booster engines did not ignite, said the country’s space agency.
The rocket, a joint venture of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, was to take off from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima at 10.37 am.
However, its solid rocket boosters could not ignite minutes into the scheduled take-off time.
Columns of smoke emitted from the rocket base, confirming that the main engine of the first phase had ignited correctly.
“The main engine ignited, but the solid boosters did not. Since the rocket has not yet been launched, it cannot be judged as a failure,” a JAXA spokesperson told state-run network NHK.
The rocket is the largest in Japan in almost three decades. It carries an Earth observation satellite to help in disaster management.
The space agency said it delayed the launch indefinitely and would notify a new date soon.
It was supposed to take off in March 2021, but the launch was pushed back by about two years due to problems with the newly developed LE-9 engine from its first stage and replacement parts.
The launch of the successor to the H2A rocket was planned for Feb.12 this year but was delayed by three days due to a glitch in its flight system.
The launch was again deferred until Friday due to unfavorable weather conditions.
It is the first space rocket to use in its first phase the LE-9 engine that works with an expander to improve fuel efficiency.
The rocket carries the DAICHI-3 Earth observation satellite to observe situations in disaster-affected areas. EFE