Kimotsuki, Kagoshima Pref., Oct. 1 (Jiji Press)–The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, on Friday morning suspended the launch of its fifth Epsilon solid-fuel rocket some 19 seconds before the scheduled liftoff time.
According to JAXA, a glitch occurred at ground radar equipment that monitors the Epsilon-5’s position and speed, located near the rocket’s launching pad. JAXA postponed the launch as the failure, which added inaccurate time information to existing data, might cause a problem in tracking the Epsilon-5.
JAXA urgently called off the launch from its Uchinoura Space Center in the town of Kimotsuki, Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan, after it had started counting down to the liftoff time of 9:51 a.m. (12:51 a.m. GMT).
JAXA said that there were no problems with the Epsilon-5 itself or the nine small satellites of universities and private companies that the rocket is carrying.
A new launch date has yet to be decided.
The ground radar equipment is portable and used also at JAXA’s Tanegashima Space Center, in Kagoshima. The malfunction may affect the launch of an H-2A rocket from the center scheduled for Oct. 25, officials of JAXA said.
In August 2013, JAXA suspended the launch of its first Epsilon rocket immediately before liftoff after its ground control computer falsely detected an abnormality during the countdown.