The Japanese space program got a
black eye, Saturday, after a launch vehicle malfunctioned and had
to be destroyed. The bird was reportedly carrying spy-sats that
were to be used to keep an eye on its North Korean neighbors.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the H-IIA
Launch Vehicle No 6 (H-IIA F6) with the information gathering
satellite #2 (IGS) onboard from the Tanegashima Space Center at
13:33 on November 29, 2003 (Japan Standard Time). However, the
vehicle failed to jettison one of its two Solid Rocket Boosters
(SRB-As). H-IIA F6 was consequently destroyed by a destruction
command from the ground at 13:43:53 as the vehicle did not gain
enough height and speed due to the failure. JAXA has established an
accident investigation team led by President Yamanouchi and is
investigating the cause of the accident.