Debut launch of a new Japanese rocket ends in an accident

On March 7, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) carried out the first launch of a new H3 launch vehicle. It ended in failure.

Launch of the H3 rocket. Source: Bloomberg

The H3 is a two-stage medium-class launch vehicle. It was created by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to replace the currently used H-IIA and H-IIB rockets. Its height is 63 meters, diameter is 5.27 meters. Depending on the configuration, the H3 can be equipped with two or four solid-fuel boosters, and its first stage can be equipped with two or three engines. This gives the rocket the ability to put from 4 to 7.9 tons of cargo into a geotransfer orbit.

The first attempt to launch H3 took place in February 2023, but then it was canceled due to technical problems. After a series of several postponements, the rocket finally launched on March 7. On board is the Earth remote sensing satellite ALOS 3 (Advanced Land Observing Satellite 3).

Initially, the flight took place in normal mode. H3 successfully dropped the side boosters, then the first stage. However, then the engine did not start on the second stage of the rocket. Because of this, the controllers had no choice but to undermine the H3. Its fragments fell into the Pacific Ocean along with the satellite.

JAXA specialists have already started investigating the accident. What is the cause of it remains unknown for the time being. 

According to

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