JAXA Launches Epsilon-1

After a delay of a couple of weeks the Japanese Space Agency, JAXA launches it’s first Epsilon Launch Vehicle, Epsilon-1 with the Spectroscopic Planet Observatory for Recognition of Interaction of Atmosphere (SPRINT-A).

The launch took place at 14:00 p.m. from the Uchinoura Space Center. So far everything is happening as planned and the solar paddles have been deployed and the spacecraft is reportedly in good condition.

As is the custom, the SPRINT-A has been renamed. The nickname is HISAKI.

The JAXA website explains:

(1) “Hisaki” is the name of a cape in the Uchinoura area. (The cape at the tip of the Tsushiro Peninsula.)

It is the first brightened point by the rising sun in the Uchinoura area, thus the place is a symbol of a new day in Uchinoura.
It is also a place for local fishermen to pray for safety hence it is a symbol of safe navigation for boats leaving Uchinoura.
As it is a tip shape, it reminds us of the satellite configuration.

(2) Our observation targets are beyond (“saki” in Japanese) the sun (“Hi” in Japanese).

The Epsilon launch vehicle is interesting because it is a multi-stage solid propellant. JAXA is building a system to allow more frequent launches by reducing costs. cost reduction is being achieved by enhancing operational efficiency for example: assembly and inspection. The idea is to make space more accessible by making launches easier, Epsilon in the first step in the path.

HISAKI is an observatory to observe the other planets from Earth orbit. By capturing Ultraviolet rays emitted from a planet the atmospheric composition and the magnetosphere can be studied. The magnetosphere is the the magnetic field generated by the planets and protects the planet from the solar wind. HISAKI will be able to determine the penetration path and depth of the solar wind energy. Another goal for HISAKI is to try to find out what occurred in the early solar system by looking at the mechanism by which the solar wind allows the atmosphere to flow out into space.


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