The rocket fired the SS-520 rocket at 0833 JST on Sunday at its Uchinoura Space Center in southern Japan, but could not get data from the rocket, said officials at JAXA, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency communication. The rocket and its payload had a water landing off southeast Japan's coast.
The rocket, similar to a utility pole at 50 centimeters in diameter and 10 meters in length, stopped transmitting signals to the operations center just 20 seconds post-liftoff. The first stage went off without a hitch but communication problems prevented the second stage from igniting and carrying a carrying a micro-satellite, TRICOM 1, into orbit. "However, we were unable to receive [data] from the unit as it continued the flight", JAXA said in a release. It came into being as a likely transporter of mini-satellites, which enjoys growing interest in the space trade. Primarily a sounding rocket, created to perform observations during a suborbital flight, the SS-520 could also loft small satellites. It was created to transmit images of Earth's surface for about a month before re-entering the atmosphere and burning up.
SS-520-4 solid fueled rocket is railed launched light vehicle created as alternative for H-IIA and other large rockets in delivering small satellites to LEO orbit. This project's budget was $3.5 million, and it was a one-of-a-kind demonstration toward building future "nano launcher" rockets.This latest launch demonstrates the potential for using the low-priced, dedicated crafts for satellites that relies on commercial technology. JAXA has no further plans to launch a rocket of this size, it said.
JAXA, which undertook the mission to demonstrate the cost-cutting potential for satellite launches, used commercially available devices found in home electronics and smartphones to inspire private firms keen on entering the space launch business.
Unfortunately for JAXA, the maiden flight of this adorably tiny vehicle ended in failure.