Japan launches 6 satellites into orbit and an artificial meteor shower

Japan launches 6 satellites into orbit and an artificial meteor shower

On January 17, Japan launched 7 spacecraft into orbit. Among them is a small satellite that will create a dazzling artificial meteor shower. The payload went into space aboard the Epsilon rocket, launched from the Utinoura Space Center on the island of Kosa. If everything goes according to schedule, then 7 vehicles will go into orbit 500 km above the Earth.

This is the first launch of the JAXA innovative satellite technology demonstration program. The Japanese agency is committed to developing and testing advanced space technology. Successful launches will enhance the international competitiveness in the space sector.

The main payload is the RAPIS-1 demonstration satellite, whose square case covers 1 m wide. RAPIS-1 demonstrates various technological innovations, such as a thin membrane solar grid in the form of a blade, small engines with low-toxic fuel, an inexpensive particle sensor and a new instrument for monitoring orientation and observations of the planet.

Six satellites include ALE-1 (60 x 60 x 80 cm). Inside it are centimeter particles that should create a beautiful sky show when it falls in the atmosphere. Such devices are intended for the formation of artificial meteor showers. In addition, they will provide valuable information about the upper layers of the earth’s atmosphere. The first artificial meteors will not flash for about a year. As a result, ALE-1 will expand the increasing resistance “membrane”, which will reduce the height of the satellite to 100 km. In the spring of 2020, the device will release particles over the city of Hiroshima, staging a colorful show, which will be able to watch more than 6 million people.

Also among the payloads you can see Earth observation devices - MicroDragon and RISESAT, OrigamiSat-1 multifunctional deployable membrane structure, technology testing for future lunar flights of Aoba VELOX-IV and a small NEXUS satellite (10 x 10 x 11 cm) for amateur satellite communications.

This is the fourth launch for Epsilon rocket, which debuts in 2013. It reaches a height of 24 m and is capable of lifting 700 kg of cargo.

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