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Japan halts launch of new carrier rocket

The Epsilon Launch Vehicle 1. A JAXA photo

TOKYO (BNS): Japan on Tuesday aborted the launch of its new space vehicle, Epsilon, after an anomaly was detected prior to the rocket's lift off.

The Epsilon Launch Vehicle (Epsilon-1), carrying the Spectroscopic Planet Observatory for Recognition of Interaction of Atmosphere (SPRINT-A) satellite, was scheduled to lift off from the Uchinoura Space Center at 1:45 pm local time (0445 am GMT).

The mission was called off after an automatic stop alarm was issued as an attitude abnormality was detected approximately 19 seconds prior to the liftoff time during the automatic countdown sequence, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said in a statement, adding that it is currently investigating the cause.

The space agency has designed the Epsilon carrier rocket as a successor to its M-V launch vehicle which carried out several successful space missions between 1997 and 2006.

A three-stage solid propellant rocket, the Epsilon is capable of lifting around 1200 kg mass to the Low Earth Orbit.

The SPRINT-A is the world's first space telescope for remote observation of planets. The satellite, weighing 350kg, is designed to study the magnetospheres and atmospheres of planets in our Solar System.

The spacecraft will target Venus, Mars, Jupiter and their satellites by a telescope that can capture the extreme ultra violate region which cannot be observed from the ground. It will acquire scattered light from atmospheric ion hanging around the interplanetary space at Venus, and observe the Jupiter aurora caused by solar winds at Jupiter, and study the atmosphere and magnetism of planets.

Japan presently carries out its space operations by using the indigenous H2A rocket.


Japan  JAXA  Rocket  Satellite  Planet  

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