Interstellar Technologies, Inc. (Japanese: インターステラテクノロジズ（株）, Hepburn: Intāsutera Tekunorojizu (kabu)) is a Japanese NewSpace company aiming to eventually build a launch vehicle for smallsats under 100 kg. It is a rocket spacelaunch company developing the MOMO[clarification needed] (also Momo, etc.) launcher. Interstellar's stated goal is to reduce the cost of access to space.
In 2017, it became the first Japanese company to launch a privately-developed space rocket, though the launch was unsuccessful. A subsequent test in 2019 was successful at taking a 20 kg payload on a suborbital trajectory to the edge of space. As of 2017[update], the company planned to develop a rocket by 2020 that would be capable of launching small satellites into orbit. As of 2018, the president is Takahiro Inagawa.
As of June 2018, the company had raised about ¥30 million (about US$250,000) in crowdfunding.
The group that became Interstellar Technologies was created as a hobbyist organization in 1997. Interstellar Technologies predecessor company was established in 2003 by Takafumi Horie, who previously founded the ISP Livedoor. It was established to develop rockets to launch small satellites. It became Interstellar Technologies in 2005 (some sources name the year 2013 as the founding year of Interstellar Technologies). Interstellar plans to lower the cost of access to space, and is attempting to have the first privately developed rocket in Japan to reach space.
In March 2018, Interstellar entered into a business alliance with Nippon Travel Agency and Space Development Corp. In May 2018, Interstellar received an investment of ¥19.8 million from Kushiro Manufacturing.
The flight test program began in mid-2017:
|Flight No.||Date (UTC)||Launch site||Suborbital apogee or achieved altitude||Outcome|
|1||30 July 2017||Taiki, Hokkaido, Japan||20 km (12 mi)||Failure|
|Rocket failed after launch. Contact was lost 66 seconds after launch, triggering an emergency engine shutdown. The rocket reached an altitude of 20 km (12 mi). This represented the first privately funded space rocket to be launched in Japan. The launch cost about ¥50 million (US$440,000).|
|2||30 June 2018||Taiki, Hokkaido, Japan||Failure|
|Four seconds after liftoff, the rocket came crashing back down onto the pad, exploding violently.|
|3||04 May 2019||Taiki, Hokkaido, Japan||113.4 km (70.5 mi)||Success|
|The first commercially developed Japanese rocket to reach the Kármán line, the internationally recognized edge of space. The rocket landed in the sea. The countdown to the launch used the singing synthesizer software Hatsune Miku.|
|4||27 July 2019||Taiki, Hokkaido, Japan||13 km (8.1 mi)||Failure|
|Failed (onboard computer detected a problem and shut down the engine early) shortly after liftoff. The rocket reached altitude of 13 km and fell into sea 9 km offshore. The rocket carried some experiments, for example a heat-resistant paper plane to be released from space, and a low-frequency sound sensor developed by Kochi University of Technology to observe sound created by lightning, typhoons and volcanic eruptions.|
|5||14 June 2020||Taiki, Hokkaido, Japan||11.5 km (7.1 mi)||Failure|
|About 35 seconds into flight, sparks were observed near the engine nozzle. About thirty seconds later, the engine failed and the rocket tumbled out of control.|