High-speed cameras show MOMO-2 launch failure in unprecedented detail

August 13, 2018 by Tomasz Nowakowski, Astrowatch.net
Credit: Interstellar Technologies Inc.

Japanese startup Interstellar Technologies Inc. (IST) has revealed high-definition videos of the unsuccessful June 30 launch of its MOMO-2 rocket. The new footage, captured by industrial high-speed cameras, shows the failure in unprecedented detail.

The 33-foot (10-meter) tall MOMO-2 fell to the ground and exploded shortly after its launch from a test site near the town of Taiki on Japan's island of Hokkaido. IST recently released a high-definition multi-camera video of the launch, and now the company has released to the public another recording of the failed liftoff—this time, shot by high-speed cameras at the rate of 1,000 fps.

Developed by Photron, the FASTCAM cameras were set at two positions at the in order to record the whole sequence of the launch from the upper and lower angles. Unexpected fire emerging from the side of the vehicle's injector is clearly observed in these super-slow videos. Given that the exact cause of the launch failure is still being investigated by IST, the new footage could be helpful in determining what triggered the malfunction.

Takahiro Inagawa, IST's CEO, told Astrowatch.net that verifying those videos from high-speed cams leads to the initial assumption that the cause of the failure was in the side jet thruster.

MOMO2 rocket high-speed video (high-angle shot). Credit: Interstellar Technologies Inc. (IST)
"IST is currently conducting reproduction experiments of the malfunction. Later, IST plans to upload the telemetry and other data found onto GitHub to share the knowledge of cause investigation," Inagawa added.

The history of IST reaches back to 1997, when a group of space enthusiasts created a hobbyist organization aiming to develop a compact and convenient rocket , as well as to build a prototype engine to power a aloft. The company plans to become the first Japanese company to send a rocket into space.

MOMO2 rocket high-speed video (low-angle shot). Credit: Interstellar Technologies Inc. (IST)

The MOMO-2 rocket launch was IST's second test mission that ended in failure. The first rocket developed by the startup, MOMO-1, was launched in July of 2017 but communications with it were lost about a minute after it had left the pad.

Despite two setbacks, the company is currently working toward its next mission—MOMO-3. However, although the exact date of the launch has not been disclosed yet, Inagawa recently revealed that MOMO-3's flight should be expected within months.

Explore further: Interstellar Technologies continues work on its own rocket despite MOMO-2 launch failure

Related Stories

SpaceX postpones next-gen rocket launch

May 11, 2018

With less than a minute before launch Thursday, SpaceX aborted the liftoff of its new Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket, which the California-based company promises to be more powerful and easier to re-use.

Image: Orbital ATK rocket rolls out for may 21 launch

May 21, 2018

An Orbital ATK rocket rolls out to launch Pad-0A at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on May 17, 2018, in advance of a May 21 launch from Wallops Island, VA. The Antares will launch a Cygnus spacecraft on a cargo resupply mission ...

Recommended for you

New space industry emerges: on-orbit servicing

November 17, 2018

Imagine an airport where thousands of planes, empty of fuel, are left abandoned on the tarmac. That is what has been happening for decades with satellites that circle the Earth.

SpaceX gets nod to put 12,000 satellites in orbit

November 16, 2018

SpaceX got the green light this week from US authorities to put a constellation of nearly 12,000 satellites into orbit in order to boost cheap, wireless internet access by the 2020s.

Electric blue thrusters propelling BepiColombo to Mercury

November 16, 2018

In mid-December, twin discs will begin glowing blue on the underside of a minibus-sized spacecraft in deep space. At that moment Europe and Japan's BepiColombo mission will have just come a crucial step closer to Mercury.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Aug 13, 2018
The flame coming out of the nozzle during the successful portion of the takeoff is amazingly beautiful.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.