On November 9 at 00:51 UTC, a Japanese Epsilon 2 rocket launched the RAISE-2 technology demonstration satellite and eight other satellites of various shapes and sizes from the Uchinoura Space Center in southern Japan.
The Epsilon 2 is a three- or four-stage rocket using three solid stages from the H-II and Mu-V rockets, with an optional liquid-propellant fourth stage to increase payload to orbit and insertion accuracy. This flight used a liquid fourth stage. The launch was delayed several times from last month due to a problem with the ground, the vehicle, the weather, and the need to use range assets for another launch.
This was only the fifth launch of an Epsilon rocket since its first launch in 2013. It is designed to put payloads up to 500 kilograms into a 700-kilometer orbit as it did with this mission. It replaced the Mu-V rocket which was retired in 2006.
RAISE-2 is the main payload on the flight. It is a 110-kilogram small satellite which hosts several small payloads, including a new kind of low-power, space-rated microcomputer designed by Sony, a new fiber-optic gyroscope, a commercial off-the-shelf star tracker, a 3D printed antenna, and an inertial measurement unit.
HIBARI is a 50-kilogram microsatellite which will test using solar array paddles to provide the torque to move a satellite. Reaction wheels and control moment gyroscopes are currently used to control satellite attitude, but it is very difficult to get both accuracy and stability using these systems. HIBARI also has a small ultraviolet telescope to take advantage of and confirm the pointing accuracy, hoped to be less than ten arcseconds.
Z-Sat is a 46-kilogram satellite that will take images of the ground in both near- and far-infrared and combine them for better observation of heat sources. It is expected to be the first of a constellation of such satellites.
DRUMS (Debris Removal Unprecedented MicroSatellite), a 62-kilogram smallsat, will test orbital debris removal technologies.
Teikyosat-4 will be used to provide really fine microgravity for life science and materials science applications where crewed space stations provide too much disturbance. It weighs 52 kilograms and is developed by Teikyo University.
ASTERISC has a large deployable sheet that will be used as a dust and/or space debris sensor. It is designed to be low-cost, so it was integrated into a three-unit CubeSat the size of a loaf of bread and only weighs four kilograms.
There are three other CubeSats that Patrons can read about in this week’s bonus material.
JAXA press release (Japanese)
Innovative satellite technology demonstration No. 2 (JAXA) (Japanese)
Epsilon info page (Gunter’s Space Page)