50th Anniversary Of Japan’s First Satellite

Japanese Space Program

On February 11th 1970, Japan became the fourth space power after launching the satellite Ohsumi into orbit from Uchinoura Space Center, Japan. Launched on a Japanese Lambda 4-S booster at 04:25:00 UTC, the Ohsumi spacecraft was named after the Ōsumi Province in the southern islands of Japan. Although this was the first satellite launched by the Japanese Space Program, this was not the first rocket that was studied as there were other research done by the group before the launch.

The Ohsumi “satellite carried five experiments designed to make ionospheric observations of temperature and density, measurements of solar emission, and measurements of energetic particles. A 500-km circular orbit was intended, but an elliptical orbit was achieved. The satellite was a regular 26-sided polygonal prism with a circumscribed radius of 75 cm. The batteries were powered by 5184 solar cells mounted on the satellite body. Average power consumption was 10.3 W. Ohsumi was launched on a Japanese Lambda 4-S booster, making Japan the fourth country to launch a satellite into orbit on its own rocket. A further description can be found in the Japan National Report to COSPAR, 1969.”

How Japanese Space program has evolved?

What started as a research group in the University of Tokyo in the mid-1950’s, became 2 organizations that were developing their own rockets. The Institute of Space And Astronautical Science (ISAS) and National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA), which would merge with the National Aeropsace Labratory of Japan, to form JAXA in 2003.

The Institute of Industrial Science of the University of Tokyo. This institution succeeded in a horizontal launch of the Pencil Rocket on 12 April 1955 in Kokubunji, Tokyo, the rocket had dimensions of 23 cm, 9.1 in, in length by 1.8 cm, 0.71 in, in diameter. The next development was called the Baby Rocket which reached a maximum altitude of 6 km, 3.7 mi. After the Baby Rocket, two rocket projects were further carried out: a rockoon type rocket launched from a balloon and a ground-launched rocket. There were some successes and some failures with these 2 new projects, which led to the launch of the Ohsumi satellite.

Impact of Japanese Space Program On Scientific Community

The impact of the Japanese Space Program includes JAXA missions to deep space, the ISS, and the Earth Sciences. There are a lot of great solar missions and ISS supply missions that JAXA supports. There are a plethora of positives that we are not able to mention here. But what is important is that what is important starts off with small steps.

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