Friday, January 23, 2009

JJNN Friday: Technology - 14

Welcome again to JJNN for Friday January 23rd, 2009. Today we will be talking about the successful launch of the H2A rocket.

Long gone is the time when people gather around their television sets to see the launch of a rocket bound for space. You can't get people away from their TV sets if the rocket is one that is used for war and it is heading for someplace where people live. Of course that makes sense. When there is lives on the line people are always willing watch. When it is just a lot of money and scientific knowledge that is on the line, it is hard to find people that care. I guess this is just the way things are. It has been like that ever since people got used to the idea of people riding rockets to the moon (AKA, people figured out that it is mostly safe). I just hope some day that people get excited by the prospect of gaining knew knowledge. Maybe that will never happen, but I guess I can wish that it will come.

Any way, on to the news. According to this article, Japan launched a rocket today with a payload of 8 small satellites that each have different uses and are all provided by different universities and companies. The name of the rocket they use is the H2A. The H2A rocket is made by the Mitsubishi company and with the latest rocket they are up to number 15. This successful launch is also the 9th successful launch in a row for this type of rocket. The first launch of the H2A took place in 2001. The 6th launch in 2003 was a failure. Rather than go into a lot of specific details about the rocket that can be looked up anywhere I want to show you what one of these launches actually looks like. Enjoy the clip below.

Looks great, doesn't it?

The latest rocket has 8 different satellites. Here is a list of what they are called, who made them and what they should do. The list (as almost all of my lists) is in no specific order.

1) SDS-1: SDS stands for Small Demonstration Satellite. Made by JAXA (think of JAXA as the NASA for Japan). It is going to be used to gain data for a program that studies small satellites.

2) SPRITE-SAT: Made by Tohoku University. This satellite has many different pieces of data taking equipment. It can do things like check the weather in the area of Earth below it and even has a detector for the high energy gamma rays given off by lightning.

3) Maido 1: Made by Astro-Technology SOHLA. This satellite is used to help collect data that could be used later to model electric storms.

4) Ibuki: Made by JAXA. Also know as GOSAT, this satellite is going to be use to monitor the level of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses like methane in the Earth's atmosphere.

5) Kagayaki. Made by Soran. This satellite is being used by the company to help out kids with bad illnesses. They can get their dream of piloting something in space from their hospital bed. It is really touching.

6) KKS—1: Made by Tokyo Metropolitan College of Industrial Technology.

7) STARS: Made by Kanagawa University.

8) PRISM: Made by Tokyo University.

I could not find a lot of information on the last few because they are used in private research projects. If anyone else find out anything about these satellites please let me know.

Any way, it is now time for the word of the day. Today's word is 打ち上げ(うちあげ). It is pronounced uchiage and means launch. Someday I want to go to one of these rocket launches.

That's it for today. See you next time at JJNN.

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