Jan 31, 2009

Tohoku University's SPRITE-SAT Successfully Launched

The SPRITE-SAT spacecraft designed and built by Tohoku Univeristy, a partner of White Label Space, was successfully launched into space last week on a Japanese H-IIA rocket. The satellite was inserted in the prescribed orbit and radio signals from the satellite have been received at the ground station in Tohoku University, and have confirmed that the satellite is in good health.

SPRITE-SAT has now started its mission to observe Sprites and Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes (TGF). The spacecraft was developed by the faculty and students of Tohoku Univeristy, with technical support from external mentors experienced in satellite development. Students played a leading role in the assembly and testing of the spacecraft, giving a unique opportunity for hands-on education in space science and space engineering.

Onboard the satellite was a minature gallery of art, etched onto a silicon wafer by photolithography, making this mission also one of the first art exhibitions in outer space.

Spritesat Japanese satellite team

Tohoku University, led by Professor Kazuya Yoshida, will use the experience gained from SPRITE-SAT to develop the rover for our Google Lunar X PRIZE (GLXP) mission, which will be a small rover capable of travelling at least 500m across the lunar surface and capturing hi-definition videos and photographs for transmission back to Earth.

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