JAXA’s Epsilon Rocket Fails, 8 Satellites Lost

Epsilon launch in November 2021. (Credit: JAXA webcast)

Japan’s Epsilon rocket failed after launch on Wednesday, resulting in the loss of eight satellites designed to demonstrate new technologies.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said in a statement that the rocket deviated from its targeted altitude at the time the third and third stages were to have separated. Controllers transmitted a command for the booster to self destruct when they realized the rocket could not enter orbit, the space agency said.

JAXA has initiated an investigation into why Japan’s first orbital launch of the year failed. It was the first failure of the three-stage sold-fuel rocket in six launches.

Eight satellites were lost in the mishap.

  • RAISE-3 — JAXA — Technology demonstration
  • QPS-SAR-3 — iQPS — Earth observation
  • QPS-SAR-4 — iQPS — Earth observation
  • FSI-SAT — Future Science Institute — Technology demonstration
  • KOSEN-2 — Yonago College — Technology demonstration
  • MAGNARO — Nagoya University — Technology demonstration
  • MITSUBA — Kyushu Institute of Technology — Technology demonstration
  • WASEDA-SAT-ZERO — Waseda University — Technology demonstration

Epsilon is capable of launching 1,500 kg (3,307 lb) into Earth orbit.