Watch Japan's Space One Rocket Explode And Scorch The Earth

hero japan space one rocket explosion
A Japanese launch service provider’s attempt to become the first private entity in Japan to launch a satellite into orbit ended abruptly, mere seconds after liftoff. Space One’s solid-fuel Kairos rocket executed an abort command after detecting an issue, leading to a spectacular explosion.

Just five seconds after liftoff, the 18-meter, 23-ton Kairos rocket carrying a mock-up of a government spy satellite burst into flames. News crews reporting live on the event were able to capture footage of fragments of the rocket being strewn across the nearby mountainous area, as firefighters were able to put out a large fire caused by the explosion. Fortunately, no injuries were reported from the disastrous event.

“The rocket executed the abort command after detecting trouble,” remarked Wakayama Governor Shuhei Kishimoto. Kishimoto added, “It’s different from an uncontrolled explosion, so I’m a bit relieved.”

Space One is a Tokyo-based startup, with investments from other large Japanese companies such as Canon Electronics, IHI, Shimizu, and a few major banks. The space company hopes to provide services to Japan and others, much like SpaceX has in the US.

This was not the first issue the company has faced in its journey to launch a satellite into orbit. Space One initially intended to conduct its first launch in 2021, but ran into part supply issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Space One president Masakazu Toyoda told reporters that Space One plans on learning from the mishap and to resume launches in the near future.

“We will find out the cause as soon as possible and clarify our measures to prevent a recurrence,” Toyoda said. “Through such steps, we will resume our launches, aim to realize small rocket launch services and contribute to the further expansion of space services.”

The Japanese startup remains undeterred by the Kairos rocket incident to reach its goal of 20 liftoffs per year by the end of 2029, and 30 liftoffs in the 2030s.