An engine being developed for use in the Epsilon S small rocket exploded Friday at a testing facility in Akita Prefecture, in another setback for the Japanese space agency's efforts to launch advanced rockets.
No one was injured in the large explosion at the Noshiro Testing Center, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and police. Many media and space enthusiasts had gathered to watch outside the research building.
The incident occurred about one minute after the ground test for the second-stage engine began at the building. The engine suddenly spat flames and exploded with a roar, spewing a massive plume of white smoke into the air that turned black as the inferno continued.