Japan space programme impressed with the recent launch of the world’s tiniest satellite-carrying rocket. On Saturday, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) registered the SS-520’s fourth flight since 1998, Japan Today reported.
The S-520, upon which the SS-520 is based, has made thirty launches since it was introduced in 1980, the most recent in 2015. The first flew was successfully done on 5 February 1998, the most recent – on February 2, 2018. JAXA’s SS-520 will become the smallest rocket ever to place a satellite into orbit. The tiniest rocket is payload with TRICOM-1R, a three-unit CubeSat with a mass of just three kilograms. The satellite is a re-flight of the TRICOM-1 mission, which was lost in SS-520’s failure last year.
The miniaturisation of the spacecraft, especially the satellites is extremely important for the development of national space programme in Japan. The launch was aimed at verifying JAXA’s technology to send a small rocket made with commercially available components to the sky at lower cost amid growing global demand for microsatellites. The JAXA used components found in home electronics and smartphones for the tiniest satellite-carrying rocket.
TRICOM-1R: facts and figures
TRICOM-1R carries a store-and-forward communications payload and five small cameras that will return images of the Earth. The satellite was built by the University of Tokyo and was designed around the three-unit (3U) CubeSat form factor, although it is slightly larger than a standard 3U satellite due to its deployment mechanism and communications antennae.
The satellite is very tiny, it measures 11.1 by 11.1 by 34.6 centimetres, including its antennae. Japan’s next orbital launch will take place at the Tanegashima Space Centre on 25 February, with an H-IIA deploying an IGS reconnaissance satellite.