Japanese company blasted a rocket on Friday. It carried a satellite on a mission to deliver the world’s first artificial meteor shower.
Astro Live Experiences (ALE), a Tokyo-based start-up has developed a micro-satellite which can create what it calls a “shooting stars on demand” service.
So, engineers designed the satellite to release tiny balls that glow brightly as they hurtle through the atmosphere. Thus, simulating a meteor shower.
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Scientists attached the satellite to an Epsilon-4 rocket launched into space on Friday morning from the Uchinoura Space Centre in southern Kagoshima prefecture by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
The satellite will initially orbit the Earth over the coming year. Then, scientists have scheduled it to debut its technology to the world with its first artificial meteor shower. Therefore, lighting up skies above Hiroshima city in spring 2020.
So, the rocket is carrying a total of seven ultra-small satellites that will demonstrate various “innovative” technologies, JAXA spokesman Nobuyoshi Fujimoto told AFP.
By around noon on Friday, the first of the seven satellites had been successfully sent into orbit, he added. JAXA officials are waiting for signals to confirm the fate of the other six.
“I was too moved for words,” Lena Okajima, president of the company behind the artificial meteor showers, told the Jiji Press agency.
“I feel like now the hard work is ahead.”
The satellite, which weighs 68kg and measures 60cm by 80cm, carries 400 tiny balls whose chemical formula is a closely-guarded secret. So, the company says that should be enough for 20-30 events, as one shower will involve up to 20 stars.
The satellite is separated from the rocket around 310 miles above the Earth. It will gradually descend to an altitude of 248 miles over the coming year.
However, scientists expect the show to be visible to millions of viewers if the skies are clear.