By Ai Oba
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) put a total of six microsatellites into orbit from the International Space Station’s Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo” on the 16th. Last December, Japan’s sixth Kounotori [white stork], an unmanned supply spacecraft, delivered the series of satellites developed by the University of Tsukuba, Waseda University, Nakashimata Engineering Works with Tohoku University, University of Tokyo, Kyushu Institute of Technology and elementary and middle schools in Brazil among other institutions, to ISS.
This is the first satellite release since the deployment capacity had been upgraded from six to twelve 10 cubic cm units at a time, bringing the total unit deployments to 20. The deployment capacity will be further enhanced to quadruple the current payload.
The mini rocket SS-520 carrying a microsatellite failed to launch on the 15th. During the post-launch press conference at Tsukuba Space Center (Tsukuba city, Ibaraki Prefecture) JAXA’s Hamasaki said, “It will take more time to develop rockets that can carry microsatellites. Kibo, on the other hand, will allow us to flexibly deploy satellites.”