JAXA terminated a satellite launch in mid-flight Sunday after a communications malfunction forced the space agency to abort ignition of the host rocket's second stage.
The No. 4 vehicle of the SS-520 rocket series lifted off at 8:33 a.m. from Uchinoura Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture carrying a miniature Earth observation satellite, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said. The rocket was touted as the smallest one capable of launching a satellite.
But the agency aborted ignition of the second stage three minutes into the launch after discovering a glitch in the communications system. The rocket and its tiny payload then tumbled into the sea.