Japanese MOMO-2 Private Rocket Launch

Interstellar Technologies, Inc. of Hokkaido, Japan is an aspiring private space launch company, hoping to join the ranks of companies such as SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic in providing low cost access to space.  The company was formed by a group of hobbyists who had previously built and launched their own rockets noncommercially.

Their first product, MOMO, is modest.  It is a “sounding rocket” which is intended to launch lightweight payloads into space on up-and-down missions which give them a brief period of weightlessness and access to the space environment.  MOMO is designed to launch small payloads above the Kármán line of 100 km, which is the conventional boundary of space.  The rocket is small and light: just 10 metres tall and one tonne.  For further details, see the Interstellar Technologies Web site, which is also available in Japanese.

The first launch of MOMO in July 2017 became the first privately-funded space launcher to be launched from Japan.  The rocket was functioning normally until telemetry was lost 66 seconds after launch.  This triggered an engine cut-off, which caused the rocket to reach an altitude of only 20 km before falling into the sea.

The second launch attempt was on June 30th, 2018.  Here is what happened.

They did not go to space that day.

The company is developing an orbital launcher for small satellites which is expected to fly in 2020, and has already conducted several tests of engine components for that rocket.


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You think you had a bad day…

Engineer: I’m calling to report the total loss of my truck.
Insurance agent: What happened to it?
Engineer: It was hit by a rocket.
Insurance agent: No, what really happened to it?

This was the January 17, 1997 attempt to launch the first GPS Block IIR satellite.

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