A rocket engine explosion occurred during a test in Japan, resulting in no injuries, according to an official from Japan’s Education, Science and Technology Ministry. The incident took place at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) testing site, marking another setback in Japan’s space program.
The explosion happened approximately one minute into the test of the second stage engine, causing flames to shoot out of the testing facility. The ensuing fire engulfed the small building, resulting in the roof blowing off.
JAXA has experienced a series of failures, dampening its space ambitions. In March, their new medium-lift H-3 rocket’s second-stage engine failed to ignite as planned, leading to a self-destruct command. Furthermore, in October, the agency’s solid-fuel Epsilon-6 rocket also faced a failure. Additionally, in April, the lunar transport startup ispace’s Hakuto-R vehicle crashed during an attempted soft-landing on the moon, making it the first-ever such incident involving a private company.
The rocket engine explosion during the test at JAXA’s facility is the latest setback for Japan’s space program. The incident adds to a series of failures that have hindered their space ambitions, including previous rocket malfunctions and a crash landing on the moon. Fortunately, no injuries were reported during the explosion.