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Aerospace & Defense Industries

Coronavirus shackles Japan's space startups with another crisis

Japanese and Singaporeans refuse to surrender their 'highly strategic' ambitions

Equatorial Space, a Singaporean rocket launch startup, dreams about becoming a launch service provider for Southeast Asia. (Photo by Akira Kodaka)

TOKYO/SINGAPORE -- Interstellar Technologies, a Japanese startup, was primed to test-launch its demonstration rocket on May 2. But less than four days before the countdown, the project was abruptly blocked by a town in Hokkaido, northern Japan, which cited coronavirus concerns.

It was the latest example of the challenges space startups face as pressure mounts for them to prove their worth amid the worst global economic meltdown since the Great Depression.

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