July 1 (UPI) -- What was expected to be Japan's first privately developed rocket to reach outer space burst into flames shortly after takeoff, leaving officials at Interstellar Technologies Inc. puzzled about what went wrong.
The unmanned 1-ton, 10-meter-long Momo-2 rocket lost thrust about 4 seconds after takeoff Saturday morning in Hokkaido and crashed back to the ground at 6 seconds. The rocket, filled with ethanol and liquid oxygen, exploded upon impact.
There were no injuries.
"I could not immediately understand what happened," Interstellar Technologies President Takahiro Inagawa said in a news conference. "We could not accomplish what we were expected to do. I feel sorry for that."
It was the second rocket failure for the company in a year. In July 2017, the Momo-1 rocket reached an altitude of about 62 miles, but the mission was aborted after losing contact.
Inagawa said he would like to continue trying launching a rocket into space. Interstellar Technologies is attempting to provide affordable commercial space flights.
The company launched an investigation into the failure.