Rocket developed by Japan startup in flames after liftoff

A rocket developed by a Japanese startup company burst into flames seconds after a failed liftoff Saturday in northern Japan.

The MOMO-2 rocket, developed by Interstellar Technologies, was launched in Taiki town on Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost main island. It was supposed to reach as high as 100 kilometers (62 miles) into space.

Television footage showed that the 10-meter (33-foot) pencil rocket lifted only slightly from its launch pad before dropping to the ground, disappearing in a fireball. Footage on NHK public television showed a charred rocket lying on the ground.

The incident caused no injuries.

Interstellar Technologies president Takahiro Inagawa said he believes the rocket suffered a glitch in its main engine.

He apologized for the failure, and said his team would collect the debris to analyze the problem and improve the rocket.

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