The failure of Japan’s cutting-edge H3 rocket on March 7 calls into question Japan's status as a space power, impacting its technological competitiveness and future policy above terra firma for years to come.

The government had hoped the next-generation rocket would allow Japan to break into the global satellite-launching business as well as use it to bolster the country’s defenses.

However, officials ordered the H3 to self-destruct shortly after liftoff at the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture upon confirming that the rocket’s second-stage engine had failed to ignite.