Space One Rocket Explodes Seconds After Launch in Japan

The first rocket launched by the Japanese start-up Space One exploded seconds after takeoff on Wednesday, denting its ambition to become the country’s first private company to put a satellite into orbit.

The Kairos solid-fuel rocket launched just after 11 a.m. local time and burst into flames less than ten seconds later, livestreams of the launch showed. The explosion left behind a large plume of smoke and set off a fire in a nearby forest that firefighters were battling to extinguish.

The 60-foot-long rocket weighs 23 tons and was launched from Space Port Kii in Wakayama Prefecture on Japan’s main island, according to the company’s website.

It was not immediately clear what had caused the explosion or whether anyone was injured. Space One did not respond to requests for comment early Wednesday afternoon.

This is a developing story.

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