By Eiji Noyori and Kazuhiko Makita / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff WritersOn July 30, Interstellar Technologies Inc., a start-up company based in Taiki, Hokkaido, conducted its first launch of a small rocket aiming for outer space. The rocket could not reach its target, but Interstellar Technologies expects to overcome that challenge in the next trial or later. There has been vigorous work in Japan's private sector to develop rockets that can reach space, and hopes for commercialization will be put to the test.
The small MOMO rocket, about 10 meters in length, was sent up in the evening from a test launch site in Taiki. However, about a minute into the flight, a malfunction occurred in which the rocket stopped transmitting location data, causing the engine to be shut off. It is estimated to have reached a maximum height of about 20 kilometers, which is far below the goal of outer space, which is 100 kilometers above the Earth.