Japan Attempts to Launch Rocket, but Fails
Japan attempts to launch a rocket on Sunday. Named the SS-520-4 it was the size of a telephone pole. The small rocket was attempting to launch a small satellite into orbit but the flight ended in a disaster.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA, says there were communication problems causing the demise of the rocket. It was reported that the rocket stopped sending data approximately 20 seconds into the launch. Three minutes after the launch the mission was aborted and the remains fail to sea.
The failure was a major disappointment to JAXA. The agency hoped the tiny rocket could cause a major change. The rocket was just 20 inches wide and the payload, TRICOM 1, weighed just 6.6 pounds. It was packed with several cameras and communications equipment. Current satellite launches carry satellites by the dozens. JAXA officials hoped it was possible to prove a launch of one satellite at a time instead of as a bunch.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 recently launched ten communication satellites. This was the first successful mission since another rocket exploded in September. It weighed in at more than 1.2 million pounds. Most of this weight was propellant. Japan’s SS-520-4 weighed less than 6,000 pounds. It also cost a fraction amount of money opposed to a traditional satellite launch. The total project had a $3.5 million budget.