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Space One KAIROS Rocket Explodes Midair after Launch

Space One KAIROS
Space One KAIROS before the explosion. Credit: Kyodo

Ibadan, 13 March 2024. – Space One, a Japanese private launch services provider, suffered a setback during its inaugural rocket launch as its KAIROS rocket exploded midair a few seconds after liftoff. The Company aimed to be the first private Japanese outfit to launch a satellite into Orbit, launching the rocket from a new space facility in Kushimoto, Wakayama Prefecture. The rocket carried a small intelligence satellite for the Japanese Government, which it planned to insert into orbit about 500 km above the Earth’s surface.

The rocket launch had suffered various postponements prior to the eventual launch. the most recent of which came last Saturday after launch operators detected a ship in the downrange maritime warning area ten minutes before the purported liftoff. Space One had planned to launch the 18-meter-long, 23-ton rocket back in 2021 but ended up postponing it multiple times, citing the difficulties in procuring parts during the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as reasons for the delays.

Katsumasa Tashima, the Mayor of Kushimoto, where the launch took place, expressed his disappointment in the turn of events, noting that “I didn’t even imagine an outcome like this. But the town will continue to support Space One, and we want to continue to offer our help so that the first rocket will have a successful launch.”

Governor of the Wakayama Prefecture, Shuhei Kishimoto, pointed out that the rocket had autonomously executed a system to abort the flight in accordance with its programming. As a result, the Governor stated that despite the failure, the attempt was “a big step forward”. He said, “The rocket executed the abort command after detecting trouble. It’s different from an uncontrollable explosion, so I’m a bit relieved.”

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