H3 Inaugural Launch (JAXA Webcast)

Japan's H3 Rocket Fails During Inaugural Launch

Japan's H3 rocket fails after second stage doesnt ignite

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Joseph S.

Joseph S.

Tue Mar 07 2023Written by Joseph S.

Japan’s new H3 launch vehicle has suffered a failure on its inaugural launch. The rocket suffered a failed engine start when the second stage LE-5B-3 engine did not ignite after the core stage separated. The payload on board was the ALOS-3 optical imaging satellite, which was meant to provide vast observation both in Japan and around the world to assist in science and other applications.

Some time after, mission control elected to destroy the rocket over the Philippine Sea after waiting to see if the second stage would ignite later in flight as there was no hope to save the mission. At the end of the webcast, JAXA also stated to not expect any updates soon about the failure of H3.

While it does initially seem like the failed ignition of the second stage engine was the cause for the loss of mission, the rocket did appear to lose control before stage separation thanks to some quick views from ground based tracking cameras. Mission control did not confirm if this indeed took place before main engine cutoff.


Today’s failure is not the first for the H3 program; the rocket had suffered many delays due to problems related to the first stage LE-9 engines along with other items.