The National Space Development Agency of Japan said Friday the data relay test satellite released by an H-IIA rocket on Tuesday has failed to enter geostationary orbit due to engine failure.

NASDA added that a new attempt involving another propulsion device was scheduled for Saturday.

The engine of the Kodama satellite stopped during the third attempt to propel the satellite into geostationary orbit at an altitude of 36,000 km, NASDA officials said. Two previous propulsion attempts had put the satellite close to its intended orbit.

“There is no worry that the satellite will lose its functions,” a NASDA official said.

There is a possibility, however, that the satellite’s period of operation may be shorter than the planned seven years due to the extra consumption of fuel.

NASDA plans to use another propulsion device — intended for position control — to propel the satellite into orbit on Saturday.

The agency believes the failure may be attributable to a faster-than-expected depletion of the engine’s oxidant fuel.

NASDA launched the H-IIA rocket Tuesday evening from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture.

The rocket released the satellite and an unmanned space experiment recovery system vehicle some 30 minutes after liftoff.

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