Japanese students launch rocket with mini satellite

An amateur radio satellite roughly twice the dimensions of a Rubik’s Cube and engineered by students at a university based in Tokyo is now in orbit and beaming clear signals to Earth.


The satellite, one of seven developed by universities and businesses, was sent aloft Jan. 18 atop an Epsilon-4 rocket launched from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Uchinoura Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture.


photo credit to: http://www.spacedaily.com


The NEXUS radio amateur satellite was created by undergraduates and graduates of Nihon University’s College of Science and Technology here, where 40 or so individuals, including the students involved in the project, collectively held their breath as they watched the lift-off on a live broadcast from the campus.


The next 95 minutes were nail-biting as project members monitored the post separation motion of the satellite at a ground station installed on the university campus. Signals sent from the satellite showing the mission was a success arrived around 11:25 a.m.


Ten undergraduates and graduates worked with members of the Japan Amateur Radio League and Japan AMSAT Association to build the NEXUS satellite under the supervision of Yasuyuki Miyazaki, a professor of aerospace engineering.


The ultra-small device, which is shaped like a cube, measures about 10 centimeters on each side and weighs about 1.2 kilograms. The main body was designed and assembled by the Nihon University members, whereas two of the four radio sets aboard the device were manufactured by JAMSAT.


The NEXUS project is aimed at developing a communications satellite equipped with low-cost and high-performance radio sets, said Kiyoshi Yamaguchi, a graduate student in the second year of a master’s program.


A JAMSAT symposium in 2012 in which Nihon University students took part set the stage for the project. University officials entered an open competition for satellites to be carried aboard the Epsilon-4, and were informed in spring 2017 that they were successful, sources said.


Reference: Ground control to tiny radio satellite: Mission accomplished


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