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H3 Aborts Maiden Launch Attempt

Japan’s new ride to orbit, H3, has aborted it’s maiden launch after an engine abort.

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Matthew B.

Matthew B.

Fri Feb 17 2023Written by Matthew B.

The first attempt at the maiden launch of the H3 launch vehicle came to an abrupt halt when an engine abort was called.

Using preliminary information from the stream presenters, shortly after engine ignition at 10:37:52 local time (01:37:52 UTC), both SRBs seemingly failed to ignite, resulting in the immediate shutdown of the two LE-9 engines. Mission control then began vehicle safing, to secure the launch vehicle on the pad, and prevent any possible risks from a sudden abort.

Yesterday's planned launch was dedicated to launch the ALOS-3 payload, a ground observation satellite. The satellite is planned to become a major part for disaster prevention, especially in coastal areas.

“During the automatic countdown sequence of the rocket, the first stage vehicle system detected an abnormality and did not send out the solid rocket booster (SRB-3) ignition signal, so today’s launch was canceled,” JAXA says in a statement

JAXA has not yet set a new target date for the maiden flight of the H3 rocket, which will replace the workhorse H-IIA rocket and retired H-IIB launcher.

What is H3?

H3 is Japan’s new ride to orbit. Designed by both Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and JAXA, H3 can take 4 tonnes to Sun-Synchronous Orbit, and up to 7.9 tonnes to Geostationary Orbit. It has 2 stages, and features strap-on boosters. Depending on the mission, the booster count can vary from 0,2 and 4.