Amazing footage captures explosion of Japanese rocket in slow motion

30 Jul 2018

Momo-2 prior to its aborted launch in April 2018. Image: Interstellar Technologies

Some incredible footage released by a Japanese space start-up captured the failure of its latest rocket in slow motion.

When it comes to space travel, there are so many things that could go wrong, it is almost amazing we are able to launch anything out of our orbit at all.

Indeed, plenty of times things do go wrong, as seen by the latest video released by Japanese space start-up Interstellar Technologies.

On 30 June, the company planned to launch its latest Momo-2 rocket from its launch pad at the Taiki launch facility in Hokkaido. It would have been historically important as the first ever private space launch from the nation.

As newly released footage shows, it never did manage to make it out of Earth’s orbit, having dramatically exploded just a few moments after launch.

In the high-definition, slow-motion footage, we can see the rocket taking off, only for it to quickly burst into flames.

‘I feel sorry’

Interstellar Technologies said in a statement that the rocket immediately lost thrust after take-off, with the engineers noting from the footage that it appears the flames originated from the top of the rocket.

With so much fuel on board the craft, the fire on the platform raged for a further two hours after the explosion. The company said it will conduct an investigation into what exactly happened.

According to The Japan Times, Interstellar Technologies president Takahiro Inagawa said: “We could not accomplish what we were expected to do. I feel sorry for that.”

It has been a bit of a shaky start for the company as Momo-2 was originally scheduled for launch in April, but a nitrogen leak pushed out the launch to June.

On top of that, its first rocket attempt – Momo-1 – had to abort its attempt 100km into its journey after the team on the ground lost contact with it only 70 seconds after launch.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic