Tokyo-based startup Space One, racing to be Japan’s first private-sector firm to put a satellite into orbit, postponed the launch of its solid-fueled rocket on Saturday morning after a ship was detected in the downrange "maritime warning area."

The launch was initially scheduled to take place from a new space facility in Kushimoto, Wakayama Prefecture, shortly after 11 a.m., but the ship was detected in the area with just 10 minutes to go.

"We informed the public in advance that we wanted to make the area free of people, but even 10 minutes before the launch, a vessel remained in the area, so we decided to cancel the launch because it would have been impossible for them to leave promptly," Space One executive Kozo Abe told a news conference in the afternoon.

Abe said there were no technical problems with the launch and that the next attempt could come as soon as Wednesday, with the company likely to give a more detailed schedule at least two days before the new date.

Space One is aiming to use its Kairos rocket to put a small government satellite into orbit.

The startup had initially aimed to conduct the first launch of the 18-meter-long, 23-ton rocket in fiscal 2021, but has now postponed it five times, citing the difficulties in procuring parts amid the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as reasons for the earlier delays.

In May 2019, Hokkaido-based Interstellar Technologies sent Japan's first privately developed rocket into space, but that rocket was not carrying a satellite payload.

Last month, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) succeeded in launching its next-generation H3 rocket, providing a much-needed boost to the nation’s satellite-launching and space exploration ambitions after the failure of its first model nearly a year ago.