Jun 17, 2019 | Updated: 11:38 AM EDT

Japanese Private Company Successfully Launched MOMO-3 Commercial Rocket Into Space

Jun 13, 2019 11:27 AM EDT

(Photo : 朝日新聞社)
MOMO-3 (Screenshot taken from video "First rocket fully assembled by private sector lifts off in Japan")

TOKYO, Japan -- A small start-up aerospace company founded by a former internet superstar has successfully launched a small rocket into space on Saturday, marking the first commercial space rocket developed by the Japanese that was able to reach the orbit.

Interstellar Technology Incorporated stated that they launched the unmanned MOMO-3 rocket which has reached the level of 100 kilometers into the outer space before it fell back and dropped in the Pacific Ocean.

The launching of the space rocket happened in the company's test site in Taiki in the Northern part of the main island of Hokkaido in Japan. The said commercial rocket flew for about 10 minutes, as 1000 people gathered to witness the event.

"Today, we have proven that our commercially-built aerospace craft is capable of getting itself out into space," Takahiro Inagawa announced in a news conference from Hokkaido. Inagawa is the CEO of Interstellar Technologies Incorporated.

The rocket is about 10 meters long, 50 meters in diameter, and weighs about 1 ton. It was built to carry with it 20 kilograms, however, the said rocket currently lacks the capability to send such weight out into space.

The company was founded by Takafumi Horie back in 2013, with the goal of making it possible for a commercial space shuttle to take satellites in the outer space as an alternative. Horie was the former president of the Livedoor Co. and expressed his high expectations on the success of this new project.

"I am hopeful that many other satellite manufacturers will come and join us. Together, we can achieve this goal and make things happen," Horie stated.

The launch of the rocket is seen as part of the growing trend in investment made in the space business. In the last few years, Japan has seemingly fallen behind its competitors in the industry. There are several start-up companies around the world that has invested so much in making a commercial space shuttle available for public use. One of which is the start-up company in the US called Elon Musk's SpaceX.

The successful launch on May 4, 2019, came after two failed attempts in 2017 and 2018. MOMO-3 was launched into the atmosphere by 5:45 am on Saturday and has reached about 113 kilometers in altitude.

Experts have always had the vision and desire to make commercial space explorations possible. Many countries across the globe are working towards this goal - Japan, among many others.

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