Having witnessed the rise of SpaceX, Blue Origin, and other private space companies, Japan’s Interstellar Technologies decided it wanted to have a bit of that, and set about building their own rocket system.
The trouble is, it’s not very good. Not yet, anyway.
Highlighting just how challenging it is to develop such technology, Interstellar Technologies has so far suffered two rocket launch failures. Out of two rocket launches.
Fortunately, the rockets were unmanned and no one has been injured during the failed efforts.
The latest disaster occurred at the end of last month when its Momo-2 rocket ran out of puff just a few seconds after launch, leaving gravity to do what gravity does so well. Yes, it all ended in a spectacular fireball.
But at least the private space company — founded by Japanese internet entrepreneur Takafumi Horie — can’t be accused of trying to sweep the whole thing under the carpet, as it has just released a video showing the fiery event from pretty much every conceivable angle.
The edited footage shows Momo-2’s short-lived test flight from far away, close up, low down, and high up. There’s even a rocket’s-eye view of the incident, though the video cuts out just before it hits the deck.
Curiously, about halfway through, a dance track fades in, so you might even find yourself tapping your feet during the final couple of explosions.
Not giving up
Interstellar Technologies’ first rocket launch took place in 2017, but engineers lost contact with it after about a minute, prompting them to shut down its engine at an altitude of around 12.5 miles (20 km). It came down in the sea.
The company’s goal is to build a rocket system capable of deploying small satellites in low Earth orbit, a growing market that similar outfits around the world are also exploring.
Interstellar Technologies is the first private space company in Japan to attempt the feat, and despite the setbacks, appears determined to get it right.
“I feel that I would like to keep giving it a shot,” Interstellar Technologies president Takahiro Inagawa told reporters shortly after the early-morning, June 30 accident. Horie also said he was reluctant to throw the towel in, but added, “We have to find ways to improve.”
- Watch Virgin Orbit’s cinematic recap of its groundbreaking rocket flight
- Watch Virgin Orbit fire a rocket from a plane in first successful space trip
- Virgin Orbit gears up for second attempt at unique rocket launch
- Scientists who sent spiders to the ISS have discovered something truly strange
- Why are we going to the moon again? NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren explains