JAXA apologizes for failed H3 rocket launch

The head of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has apologized following the failed launch of Japan's new flagship H3 rocket.

JAXA President Yamakawa Hiroshi told reporters on Tuesday that he was sorry for being unable to respond to the expectations of those involved in the launch, including those related to a satellite aboard the rocket, local residents and the general public.

The launch of the H3 rocket ended in failure earlier in the day after its second-stage engine did not ignite, and the mission was aborted. The Earth observation satellite Daichi-3 was to be put into orbit about 17 minutes after the launch.

Yamakawa also said he takes his responsibility seriously as the head of the organization that launched the rocket.

He added that he will put every effort into determining the cause of the failure and restoring the rocket's credibility.

As to how the failure might affect the future of JAXA's rocket program, he declined to comment, saying the issue would be discussed by the government and others.

JAXA Vice President Funo Yasuhiro said the rocket had shown planned capabilities until separation of its first and second stages.