By Huang Xitian and Xue Xiaodong
On Oct. 5, 2020, a video showing a rocket bursting into flames seconds after takeoff was posted on Facebook with a sarcastic caption that reads “Chinese rocket is the №1 in the world.”
The video has been viewed 48,000 times with 1,500 engagements and close to 500 shares. On Twitter, the same video with a similar caption has been shared widely as well. Users’ comments suggest many of them believe the rocket was made in China.
The claim is misleading. The rocket in the video was actually developed in Japan by a startup company Interstellar Technologies.
The Japanese rocket, named MOMO-2, failed to launch and exploded more than two years ago on June 30, 2018, in the northern island of Hokkaido.
The incident made headlines in the country at the time and Annie Lab compared the Facebook video with a video clip posted by the Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun.
We found the launch site and explosion seen in the two videos are identical.
In a news release, Interstellar Technologies said “the rocket lost thrust soon after it took off. After falling to the ground, it burned for about two hours and the fire extinguished itself.” It added that no one was injured.
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