An entrepreneur who had been funding an independent space project suffered a major setback Saturday when the rocket launch came to a rather climactic conclusion. The rocket left the launchpad, but didn’t make it very far along its journey. The return to earth was less-than-graceful. The rocket crashed and burned.
“Interstellar Technologies, founded by popular internet service provider Livedoor’s creator Takafumi Horie, launched the unmanned rocket, MOMO-2, at around 5:30 am (2030 GMT Friday) from a test site in Taiki, southern Hokkaido,” The Daily Mail writes.
The $2.7 million rocket was meant to be Japan’s first privately backed rocket launch. But Horie’s project failed to launch.
The 33-foot rocket rose only about 60 feet into the air. The engine sputtered momentarily before it appeared to list and fall. On impact, it burst into flames.
“Horie posted pictures on Facebook of the Interstellar Technologies team with the charred remains of the rocket,” DM adds.
“Thank you for your report. The launch experiment of Momo2 is finished. The launch of a rocket and launch site after a free fall has been secured around 13:20 today.”
“The firing range of the scene has been burned, but there is no damage to the large facilities. We would like to report and thank you for all your support, as we have finished the experiment without personal damage. Thank you so much for all.”
“I could not reach the universe, but I would like to continue to determine the data analysis and cause of this time. In some way, I will report back to you about the results of the experiment.”
“This time too many people have carried their feet to taiki-Cho. I’m sorry I can’t follow your expectations, but I would be happy if you could watch the challenge next time.”
“I will continue to challenge the universe. Thank you for your patronage.”
The rocket was going to carry observational equipment 62 miles into the sky. It is the second failure for the firm which launched a rocket a year ago. Only moments after that launch, the crew lost contact with the rocket.
Critics, though, have questions about Horie’s intentions. “The outlandish, Ferrari-driving Horie – who helped drive Japan’s shift to an information-based economy in the late 1990s and the early 2000s but later spent nearly two years in jail for accounting fraud – founded Interstellar in 2013,” DM writes.
The video shows Horie’s team, when realizing the full extent of the failure, all covering their ears in preparation for the explosion to follow.