Failure of Japan’s Epsilon Rocket Blamed on Attitude Control System

By Aazam

Japan's space agency stated Tuesday that the second stage's attitude control system caused the Epsilon rocket's Oct. 12 launch failure

The Epsilon rocket used three solid-fueled stages and a liquid-fueled "post boost stage" to launch eight satellites into a polar orbit 350 miles above Earth

The 85-foot rocket left the Uchinoura Space Center and swung south to avoid populated islands

The rocket's first and second stages burned sequentially to accelerate the launch vehicle to 10,800 mph in five minutes

After leaving the thick lower atmosphere, the Epsilon rocket lost its nose cone

After a minute-and-a-half coast phase, the Epsilon's third stage was separated and ignited to accelerate to orbital velocity

The Epsilon's second stage has eight tiny reaction control system thrusters to ensure rocket alignment during the coast phase

At T+plus 6 minutes, 28 seconds, a range safety officer sent a rocket destruct instruction

Epsilon rockets, along with the bigger H-2A and upcoming H3 rockets, launch tiny satellites in Japan. The Oct. 12 launch was the sixth

The second stage's RCS has eight tiny hydrazine-fueled thrusters in two sets of four

The launch failure was not caused by the second stage spin-up motors, which rotated the third stage as expected