Japan space agency rocket engine explodes during test
The explosion of the Epsilon S engine at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) testing site is the latest in a series of failures that have deflated Japan’s space ambitions.
The explosion took place about a minute into the test of the second stage engine, the official said.
Television footage showed flames shooting out the side of a testing facility before the small building was engulfed in flames and the roof blew off.
JAXA’s new medium-lift H-3 rocket was ordered to self-destruct on its debut flight in March, when its second-stage engine did not ignite as planned. That followed the failure of the agency’s solid-fuel Epsilon-6 rocket in October.
Lunar transport startup ispace (9348.T) saw its Hakuto-R vehicle crash into the moon’s surface in April in an attempt at the first ever soft-landing by a private company.