Japan's New Rocket Blasts Off in Laptop-Controlled Launch
Japan's new solid-fuel rocket blasted off Saturday carrying a telescope for remote observation of planets in a launch coordinated from a laptop computer-based command center.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the Epsilon rocket from the Uchinoura Space Center in Kagoshima, southwestern Japan, at 2:00 pm (0500 GMT), live footage showed.
Lift-off had originally been scheduled for August 27 but the first attempt was suspended with just seconds to go after a ground control computer falsely detected a positional abnormality.
Japan hopes the rocket, launched with just two laptop computers in a pared-down command center, will become competitive in the global space business.
The three-stage Epsilon -- 24 meters (79-feet) long and weighing 91 tons -- was scheduled to release the "SPRINT-A" telescope at an altitude of 1,000 kilometers (620 miles).
JAXA is expected to comment whether the launch was a success after confirming the release of the telescope.
SPRINT-A is the world's first space telescope for remote observation of planets including Venus, Mars and Jupiter from its orbit around Earth, according to JAXA.