TOKYO (AA) - Japan's space agency aborted its launch of the world's smallest satellite-carrying rocket shortly after liftoff Sunday following a communication system abnormality.
The production and launch of the rocket, measuring 10 meters in length and 50 centimeters in diameter, cost an estimated 500 million yen ($4.3 million) under a mission undertaken by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to discover ways of reducing the price tag for placing satellites in orbit.
Kyodo news agency reported that the rocket, the No. 4 vehicle of the SS-520 series, was carrying a mini satellite -- weighing around three kilograms and measuring 10 x 10 x 35 centimeters -- to collect imagery of the Earth’s surface.
The No. 4 vehicle lifted off from JAXA’s Uchinoura Space Center in southwest Kagoshima Prefecture at 8.33 a.m. Sunday (2333GMT Saturday), but ignition of the second stage was aborted after a glitch in the communication system was detected.
JAXA says it has no further plans to launch a rocket the size of the No. 4 vehicle, which was designed to place mini satellites -- popular in the space business market -- in orbit at altitudes of up to 2,000 km above the Earth's surface.