Smallsat 2016: Japan Increases Participation in Conference

Ikaros solar sail CubeSat (Credit: JAXA)
Ikaros solar sail CubeSat (Credit: JAXA)

Japan increased its presence at the Small Satellite Conference in Utah this week, with 21 organizations displaying their capabilities and a presentation by the University of Tokyo about the nation’s smallsat programs.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan (METI) participated in the conference for the first time, setting up a booth where the Japanese space agency JAXA, 18 companies and two universities advertised their capabilities (see the list below).

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IKAROS Sets Sail Across the Solar Sea

First stage deployment taken by a monitor camera.

JAXA MISSION UPDATE

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) began to deploy the solar sail of the Small Solar Power Sail Demonstrator “IKAROS” on June 3 (Japan Standard Time). On June 10 (JST,) we have confirmed that it was successfully expanded and was generating power through its thin film solar cells at about 770 km from the Earth.

The IKAROS was launched on May 21, 2010 (JST), from the Tanegashima Space Center.

We will measure and observe the power generation status of the thin film solar cells, accelerate the satellite by photon pressure, and verify the orbit control through that acceleration. Through these activities, we will ultimately aim at acquiring navigation technology through the solar sail.

Send Your Name into Space Aboard Solar Sail Missions

The Planetary Society's LightSail-1 solar sail. Credit: Rick Sternbach/The Planetary Society
The Planetary Society's LightSail-1 solar sail. Credit: Rick Sternbach/The Planetary Society

The Planetary Society is offering people the opportunity to send their names and short messages into space aboard two solar sail missions set for launch this year.

The Lightsail spacecraft is a project involving The Planetary Society. The IKAROS (Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation of the Sun) will be launched by JAXA.

You can sign up on The Planetary Society’s website.

Japan Plans Solar Sail Launch Next Year

The Planetary Society's LightSail-1 solar sail. Credit: Rick Sternbach/The Planetary Society
The Planetary Society's LightSail-1 solar sail. Credit: Rick Sternbach/The Planetary Society

Two solar sailing trials readied for launch next year
Spaceflight Now

Japan is planning to launch an interplanetary solar sail mission called Ikaros next May. The Planetary Society will follow with its own demo flight by the end of 2010, the space advocacy group announced Monday in a statement written by Louis Friedman, the society’s executive director.

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