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Japanese Epsilon rocket self-destructs after failed launch

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Tokyo, Oct 12: Japan's Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said on Wednesday that its unmanned Epsilon-6 rocket had been ordered to self-destruct after an "abnormality" occurred shortly after liftoff.

JAXA officials said the self-destruction signal was sent after it was decided that the rocket, which was carrying eight satellites, was unable to fly safely to its planned orbit. They said the rocket is thought to have fallen into the sea.

The launch was aborted some 10 minutes after takeoff, media reported

Hiroshi Yamakawa, president of JAXA, apologized for the failure, saying the agency was "terribly sorry that we couldn't meet the Japanese people's expectations."

He added they would take counter-measures to prevent a recurrence.

Rocket suffers technical failure

Yasuhiro Funo, who led the project, said the self-destruct signal was sent to the rocket ten minutes after launch because of "position abnormalities."

Funo told reporters that a technical issue was detected before the final stage of the launch and they ordered for the rocket's destruction because they were sure where it would go.

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That meant there would be safety concerns about where the machinery could fall, Funo said.

The rocket's parts were assumed to have landed in the Philippines Sea.

A livestream for the rocket launch was halted when engineers detected a fault, telling viewers there had been a problem with the launch.

Epsilon rocket hoped to launch private satellites into orbit for 1st time

The launch from the Uchinoura Space Center in the southern Japanese prefecture of Kagoshima had originally been scheduled for last Friday but was delayed due to the location of a positioning satellite in space.

It was JAXA's first failed launch since a H2A rocket carrying two satellites meant to monitor North Korea had its flight aborted in 2003.

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Among the eight satellites carried by the Epsilon rocket were two commercially developed ones. It was the first time an Epsilon had carried satellites from a private company, with JAXA aiming to set up commercial satellite launch business.

The solid-fuel Epsilon rocket has been in use since 2013.

Source: DW

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