Friday, 23 August, 2019

Japan launches Epsilon-4 rocket carrying private-sector satellites

The Epsilon-4 rocket lifts off from the Uchinoura space centre by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency The Epsilon-4 rocket lifts off from the Uchinoura space centre by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Credit JIJI PRESS AFP
Kristen Harrington | 20 January, 2019, 18:39

The micro-satellite was created so it can be "shooting stars on demand".

Today, a Tokyo-based company named ALE will send a spacecraft in orbit with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's (JAXA)'s Epsilon Rocket #4.

Meteor Showers can be a attractive thing to witness, but in order to see one, you have to get your timing just right.

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This is not the only satellite that was carried by the rocket. The rocket carried a total of seven ultra-small satellites that will demonstrate various "innovative" technologies, JAXA spokesman Nobuyoshi Fujimoto said. The launch vehicle is equipped with an advance board computer. "I feel like now the hard work is ahead".

In the interior of the satellites are 400 small balls - they are about an inch tall.

That should be enough for 20-30 events, as one shower will involve up to 20 stars, according to the company.

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The latest launch comes as new regulations have been put in place to encourage space-related development activities in the private sector.

The satellites are programmed to ejects the balls at the right location.

Tinkering with the ingredients in the balls should mean that it is possible to change the colours they glow, offering the possibility of a multi-coloured flotilla of shooting stars.

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Called the Sky Canvas Project, the showers should be visible to millions of people across an area extending for 125 miles. The idea is that cities (or companies or individuals) might pay ALE big chunks of money to drop a handful of those pellets overhead, creating a sort of artificial, colorful meteor shower in the sky overhead. The company is also working with scientists at Japanese universities as well as the officials from the government.

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