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Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's SS-520 satellite launches at its Uchinoura Space Center in Kimotsuki, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo January 15, 2017. Kyodo/via REUTERS

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's space agency said on Sunday it failed to launch a mini rocket carrying a satellite into space due to failure of the communications systems.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said in a statement it had fired the SS-520 rocket at 0833 JST on Sunday at its Uchinoura Space Centre in southern Japan. JAXA said it was unable to receive data from the rocket, which has fallen back to earth in a spot it had expected.

The rocket, about 10 metres (35 feet) long and 50 centimetres (20 inches) in diameter, was carrying a 3-kg (6.6 lb), 35-centimetre satellite to take images of the earth and gather other data.

The first stage of the rocket launch was carried out but not the second, after communication problems were discovered, JAXA's spokeswoman told Reuters.

The space agency had postponed the launch of the rocket on Jan. 11 due to strong wind.

(Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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