Japanese private rocket MOMO-2 exploded on launch pad

Published on July 02, 2018

Japanese private rocket MOMO-2 exploded on launch pad


    Private company Interstellar Technologies was unable to launch the MOMO-2 rocket, the first private space rocket in Japan. On Saturday, June 30, at about 5:30 am local time (Friday at 23:30 Moscow time), the rocket exploded at the test site in Taiki, South Hokkaido. On the television storyboard, you can see how a ten-meter 1.25-ton rocket went up about 20 meters, then plunged vertically back to the launch pad and caught fire. About 600 people came to the cosmodrome to observe the historic launch. There were many investors among them, because Interstellar Technologies raised funds to launch a rocket using crowdfunding.

    As a result of the incident no one was hurt. Also, no breakdowns of large structures at the cosmodrome were recorded. Viewers say the explosion was very beautiful.

    Private company Interstellar Technologies was founded by Japanese entrepreneur Takafumi Horie, owner of the popular Internet provider Livedoor. According to Agence France-Presse, this “dissident” entrepreneur was previously convicted of fraud. As we see, this does not prevent him (successfully) from doing business and (so far unsuccessfully) launching rockets into space. But Japanese Ilon Musk does not give up.

    The most interesting parts of the video broadcast, including footage of the launch and ignition of the rocket, are collected in this short video .


    This is the second failure of the Japanese entrepreneur. The last unsuccessful launch occurred in July 2017 . Then the engineers lost contact with the rocket about a minute after launch. But they estimate that the rocket reached a height of about 20 kilometers.

    MOMO-2 did not carry particularly valuable cargo, no expensive satellites. It was supposed to bring low-cost equipment to low Earth orbit purely for the purpose of the experiment: just check the fact of the equipment's withdrawal and establish a connection with it.

    Interstellar Technologies has announced that it will continue experiments after analyzing the latest failure. In the end, the first launches of SpaceX were also unsuccessful. No one promised that the rocket should fly into space from the very beginning: these first launches were initially practically programmed to fail. They are experimental and used to collect data.

    The AFP agency writes that the Japanese entrepreneur Takafumi Horiye “helped Japan move to the information economy in the late 90s and early 2000s, but later spent almost two years in prison for accounting fraud.” After his release, he founded Interstellar Technologies in 2013.

    It seems that all “space businessmen” are characterized by adventurism to one degree or another.

    So far in Japan, no private business can compete with the state space agency JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), but Interstellar Technologies claims to seriously contend with the state at the expense of lower cost. For example, last year's unsuccessful launch cost the company only $ 440,000 in losses, while JAXA spends from $ 1.8 million to $ 2.7 million for each launch. However, JAXA and the rocket are more powerful than Interstellar Technologies prototypes 50 cm in diameter.

    Interstellar Technologies says she intends to reduce the cost of rockets through the use of "commercial electronic components." However, while not a single rocket has reached its destination, all these economic calculations remain theoretical.

    Here are some picturesque photos.made after a failed launch of MOMO-2.







    All debris after the explosion carefully collected and grouped in a hangar. Here, experts will understand what went wrong.



    Engineers at Interstellar Technologies say they have not yet experienced this kind of failure. Most likely a problem in the engine.

    Last flight of Block 4


    Meanwhile, the US company SpaceX on the same day, June 29, 2018, carried out the last launch of the Falcon 9 rocket in the Block 4 version.



    It raised the Dragon spacecraft, which will deliver 2.7 tons of cargo to the ISS.



    Further launches will be carried out only in the version of Block 5 , which was successfully tested in May of this year.

    Block 5 is specially optimized for multiple landing. It is assumed that the first stage of each rocket will be used at least ten times., and the time for preparing the step to restart will be reduced from the current few months to a few weeks. This will make it even cheaper to launch launches and will create a permanent source of income for SpaceX, and the company's engineers will be able to safely concentrate on the following task: developing the Big Falcon Rocket and flying to Mars.