Japan postpones second launch of flagship rocket due to bad weather

Japan's space agency has postponed the second launch of its new flagship H3 rocket scheduled for Thursday due to expected bad weather.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency announced on Tuesday the postponement of the launch at the Tanegashima Space Center in the southwestern prefecture of Kagoshima.

JAXA said thunder, lightning and strong winds are expected at the launch time of 9:22 a.m., and that weather conditions could affect the rocket as well as the satellite onboard.

The agency said the new launch date will be decided after studying weather forecasts.

The H3 rocket was developed as the successor of current mainstay rocket H2A. The first launch of the H3 in March 2023 ended in failure after its second-stage engine did not ignite.

JAXA has been studying the reasons for the failure based on flight data, and implemented measures including stricter inspection of rocket parts.

The H3 is the first large rocket developed by Japan in 30 years. International competition over space businesses has been fueled by the entrance of private-sector companies. The result of the upcoming second launch could influence the future of the country's space development.