Japan makes history with the launch of seven spacecraft into space, one of which is a mini-satellite that can create phenomenal artificial meteor showers.
A Japanese start-up designed the microsatellite in a bid to be the first company in history to create artificial meteor showers that will illuminate the skies much brighter than the natural celestial event.
On Thursday, Jan. 17, Japan's 24-meter-tall Epsilon rocket successfully lifted off for the fourth time from JAXA Uchinoura Space Center in Japan since its maiden voyage in 2013. The booster can loft up to 700 kg into the 310-mile-high orbit above Earth.
According to the officials of Aerospace Exploration Agency or JAXA, it is Epsilon's first ever to launch more than one satellite at a single time. The launch also marks the first for JAXA's Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstration Program that aims to "nurture and prove out advanced new space tech."
"Through these demonstration experiments, we intend to strengthen the international competitiveness of Japanese satellite technology, promote space utilization and generate innovation," JAXA officials wrote in a press kit.
First Ever Artificial Meteor Showers
Japanese start-up Astro Live Experiences (ALE), established in 2011, also recorded its first test mini-satellite into orbit, along with six other spacecraft on board the Epsilon rocket, and pilots its first-ever live-fire test Friday. In creating artificial meteor showers, ALE said it intends to "bring people all over the world together to witness an unprecedented, collective experience."
Contrary to its natural counterpart, an artificial meteor shower lasts longer and estimated to go on for about 10 seconds. It burns up right above the commercial air traffic, at 40 to 60-kilometer altitude.
"Compared to natural ones, our meteors are more massive and travel through the atmosphere more slowly, which allows them to be observed for a longer time," said Hiroki Kajihara of ALE.
Each of the satellites can release thousands of meteor showers, enough to create a monumental light show next year. This man-made celestial phenomenon will brighten the skies of Hiroshima and the Seto Inland Sea to remember the 75th year of the historical U.S. bombing of Hiroshima during World War II.
According to ALE representatives, more than 6 million people will witness the spectacular artificial meteor showers across a region, around 200 kilometers wide.
Each year, Earth has about 22 natural meteor showers.