Suspended JAXA rocket launch attributed to signal delay

August 31, 2013

By AKIRA HATANO/ Staff Writer

The recent suspension of the much-awaited launch of a new rocket model in Kagoshima Prefecture was attributed to the failure of its automatic body inspection system, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said Aug. 30.

The Epsilon rocket was scheduled to have been launched from the Uchinoura Space Center on Aug. 27.

The rocket’s automatic body inspection system is a groundbreaking feature that enables a control room computer to prompt a computer mounted on the rocket to measure the orientation of the rocket body with its sensors. After receiving calculation output from the onboard computer, the control room computer automatically decides whether to go ahead with the launch.

But that new feature backfired.

During preparations for the launch, the activation signal incurred an unforeseen delay of 0.07 second in passing through two processors. That caused the returning signal to arrive behind schedule, preventing the computer in the control center from receiving the signal within the prescribed time frame.

That led the computer in the control center to determine that the rocket had an anomalous orientation, according to JAXA officials.

JAXA officials said they hope to reschedule the launch at an earliest possible date in September.

By AKIRA HATANO/ Staff Writer
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