Canon Electronics leads plunge among Japan’s Space One shareholder companies after rocket explodes

Japanese startup's rocket explodes moments after take-off

Japan’s Canon Electronics shares fell as much as 12.7% on Wednesday after Tokyo-based Space One’s small rocket exploded just moments after its maiden launch.

Reuters reported the solid-fueled Kairos rocket blew up just seconds after lifting off at 11:01 a.m. Japan time. If successful, Space One would have been Japan’s first company to put a satellite in orbit, according to Reuters.

Space One was set up in 2018 by a consortium of Japanese companies including Canon Electronics, IHI Aerospace and construction firm Shimizu, along with the government-owned Development Bank of Japan. Mitsubishi UFJ and Mizuho Financial Group, two of Japan’s biggest banks, also own minority stakes in Space One.

Space One’s shareholder companies fell after the failed launch. IHI and Shimizu fell about 1%, while the banks edged lower. Japan’s broader Topix index shed 0.5% in midday trading.

Space One had postponed the launch, which was initially scheduled for Saturday.

Space One has not disclosed launch costs, Reuters reported, adding that an executive previously said the company is “competitive enough” against American rival Rocket Lab.

Since 2017, Rocket Lab has launched more than 40 of its “Electron” small rockets from New Zealand.

— CNBC’s Michael Sheetz contributed to this story.

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