9 small satellites launch to orbit atop Japanese rocket

Nine small satellites launched to Earth orbit atop a Japanese rocket tonight (Nov. 8), on a mission to take a look at a wide range of spaceflight applied sciences.

An Epsilon rocket lifted off from Japan’s Uchinoura Space Center at 7:55 p.m. EST (0055 GMT and 9:55 a.m. native Japan time on Nov. 8). 

It’s carrying to orbit the Rapid Innovative Payload Demonstration Satellite 2, or RAISE 2 for brief, and eight tagalong spacecraft for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

Related: The history of rockets

As its full title suggests, the 240-pound (110 kilograms) RAISE 2 is a know-how demonstrator. The spacecraft, which was constructed by Mitsubishi Electric Corp., will take a look at six totally different space applied sciences, together with a small sensor known as MARIN designed to gauge the place, altitude and velocity of orbiting satellites, JAXA officials said.

The different eight satellites, which have been manufactured by a wide range of Japanese firms and universities, are even smaller than the three.3-foot-wide (1 meter) RAISE 2. Four of the rideshare spacecraft weigh 8.8 kilos (4 kg) or much less, and the opposite 4 tip the scales at between 101 kilos and 137 kilos (46 to 62 kg). (Those satellites will change into weightless in orbit, in fact, however they will nonetheless have mass.) 

The heftiest of the tagalongs is DRUMS (“Debris Removal Unprecedented Micro-satellite”), a craft constructed by Kawasaki Heavy Industries. The 2.75-foot-wide (84 centimeters) DRUMS will launch a small object in orbit after which seize it, demonstrating tech that might ultimately assist humanity clear up space junk.

Tonight’s launch was the fifth total for the 78-foot-tall (24 m) Epsilon, which JAXA started creating in 2007. The solid-fuel rocket is able to delivering to low Earth orbit payloads as heavy as 2,646 kilos (1,200 kg), in accordance to its JAXA specifications page.

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The 4 earlier Epsilon launches — which happened in September 2013, December 2016, January 2018 and January 2019 — have been all profitable. 

The 2019 launch lofted RAPIS 1 (“Rapid Innovative Payload Demonstration Satellite 1”), the first payload on the primary mission developed by way of JAXA’s Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstration Program. RAISE 2 is the second mission in that program, which seeks to encourage the event of modern space tech, particularly by universities and the personal sector.

Editor’s observe: This story was initially revealed on Sept. 30. It was up to date after that day’s scrubbed launch try, then up to date once more on Oct. 6 with information of the brand new goal liftoff time, after which once more at 9 p.m. EDT on Oct. 6 with information of that day’s scrub. It was up to date once more on Nov. 8, after liftoff.

Mike Wall is the creator of “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a e book concerning the seek for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or (*9*).

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