The Japanese space industry suffered a huge setback when the Epsilon rocket failed to lift off on Tuesday.
The Epsilon, Japan’s first new rocket in 12 years, had its launch stopped with only 19 seconds left. JAXA, Japan’s space agency, said that an irregularity is the reason that the rocket failed to launch. This is the second time that the Epsilon has failed to launch this month. A computer glitch caused the Epsilon’s launch to be delayed earlier this month. The Epsilon is a low-cost alternative to Japan’s H2A rocket. It’s about half the size of the H2A and weighs 91 tons. The rocket also has a computer system that allows it to perform its own system checks. Launch of the Epsilon can be carried out on a normal desktop. This combined with the rockets small size would make it able to launch from many different locations. Japan was hoping that the Epsilon would launch it into the multi-billion dollar satellite launch industry, but now the Epsilon isn’t scheduled for another flight until 2015, reports Reuters.
“We’re sorry we couldn’t meet the expectations of Japanese citizens, relevant organizations and companies that supported us,” Naoki Okumura, president of JAXA, told The Japan Times.