Japan's new rocket fails on debut launch in setback for space program

Japan's H3 rocket lifts off at the Tanegashima Space Center on the southwestern island of Tanegashima, Kagoshima prefecture, on March 7, 2023.

(CNN)Japan's maiden launch of its new flagship space rocket ended in failure on Tuesday when controllers issued a destruct command just 15 minutes after liftoff, the country's space agency said.

"A destruct command has been transmitted to H3 around 10:52 a.m. (Japan Standard Time), because there was no possibility of achieving the mission," a statement from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said.
A report from public broadcaster NHK said the second stage of the H3 rocket did not ignite.
    The rocket, which took off from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan, was carrying the Advance Land Observation Satellite-3 (ALOS-3), a ground-mapping and imaging orbiter that the space agency said was planned to become a key tool in disaster management efforts.
      ALOS-3 "would cover all of the land areas of not only Japan but also across the whole world," it said.
      Tuesday's failure occurred on JAXA's second attempt to launch the H3. On February 17, two secondary booster engines strapped to the side of the space vehicle did not ignite on the launch pad and the H3 failed to take off.
      The space agency has touted the H3 as the successor to Japan's H-2A and H-2B rocke