This handout picture, taken on July 14, 2023, shows a Japanese rocket engine exploding during a combustion test at the Noshiro Testing Center in Noshiro, Akita Prefecture. A rocket engine exploded in Japan on Friday, an official at Japan's Education, Science and Technology Ministry said.
The explosion of the Epsilon S engine at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency JAXA testing site is the latest in a series of failures that have deflated Japan's space ambitions.
Japan has destroyed a rocket in space after an engine failure.
The explosion took place about a minute into the test of the second stage engine, the official said.
Television footage showed flames shooting out of the side of a testing facility before the small building was engulfed in flames and the roof blew off.
JAXA's new medium-lift H - 3 rocket was ordered to self-destruct on its debut flight in March, when its second-stage engine did not ignite as planned. The failure of the NASA's solid-fuel Epsilon 6 rocket in October was followed by a failure.
Lunar transport startup ispace crashed its Hakuto-R vehicle in April in an attempt at the first ever soft landing by a private company.