Japan's Epsilon rocket to lift off with satellites

Japan launches man-made meteor shower | World

A New Satellite Will (Safely) Drop 'Meteors' Over Hiroshima

The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is set to launch the Epsilon-4 rocket from Japan's Uchinoura Space Center at 7:50 p.m. EST (0050 on January 18 GMT), with a webcast starting 25 minutes before launch.

The "meteor showers" should last around 10 seconds or so, a bit longer than their natural counterparts, and burn up at an altitude of 37 to 50 miles (40 to 60 kilometers), well above commercial air traffic. The rocket also carried other six ultra-small satellites that will showcase different "innovative" technologies, JAXA spokesman Nobuyoshi Fujimoto told AFP.

There are 400 tiny balls on the satellite.

All seven satellites separated from the launch vehicle successfully.

A company called Astro Live Experiences (ALE) wants to put satellites in orbit which are capable of launching artificial meteor showers with the push of a button. "I feel like now the hard work is ahead". This is the fourth Epsilon launch - the rocket first launched in 2013 - and the first time this rocket has ever launched more than one satellite at a time, according to JAXA.

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The satellites are programmed to ejects the balls at the right location.

They would glow brightly enough to be seen even over the light-polluted metropolis of Tokyo, ALE said.

The western Japan city rose from the ashes after the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing and faces the Seto Inland sea where the floating gate of Itsukushima Shrine is. One of the specialties that the rocket will perform, is a demonstration of a man-made meteor shower (an artificial meteor shower) for several research purposes, according to the reports.

ALE is working in collaboration with scientists and engineers at Japanese universities as well as local government officials and corporate sponsors.

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