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Japan’s private small rocket Momo-F4 falls into ocean after engine shutdown during launch

The Japanese space company Interstellar Technologies has failed to launch its fourth Momo sounding rocket, two months after a successful launch of the Momo-F3.

The one-ton, 10-meter-long vehicle took off from its launch pad in Taiki, on the island of Hokkaido, but didn’t reach the intended altitude of 100km. Instead, the onboard computer shut down the rocket’s engine after detecting abnormality some 13km in the air. It safely fell into the ocean.

The Momo-F4, which was fueled by liquid oxygen and ethanol (apparently sake from a local brewery), was meant to deploy several origami paper planes after reaching apogee.