Published: Sun, January 20, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Japan satellite blasts into space to deliver meteors on demand

Japan satellite blasts into space to deliver meteors on demand

Once the satellite reaches a lower earth orbit, the device will spit out particles which will offer an eight-second-long stream of an artificial shooting star.

The Tokyo based startup which is on a mission to deliver the world's first artificial meteor shower blasted into space on Friday.

The Epsilon is a solid fuel rocket equipped with artificial intelligence technology that cuts labor and launch costs, and which can be controlled from the ground by just two personal computers, according to the Japan Times.

The Epsilon-4 rocket was launched by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on Friday from Uchinoura Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture. The balls last for 20 to 30 colorful meteor shower and be ignited on the customer's order.

The rocket carried a total of seven ultra-small satellites.

All seven satellites separated from the launch vehicle successfully.

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In the interior of the satellites are 400 small balls - they are about an inch tall. This is the fourth Epsilon launch - the rocket first launched in 2013 - and the first time this rocket has ever launched more than one satellite at a time, according to JAXA.

The spacecraft will also loft six cubesats into orbit, including ALE-1, built by the company Astro Live Experiences, which will verify technology to create artificial meteor showers.

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.

The idea struck founder Lena Okajima in 2011 while she was observing the Leonid meteor shower.

ALE is working in collaboration with scientists and engineers at Japanese universities as well as local government officials and corporate sponsors.

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