Japan will make its first launch of 2019 Friday, using the small Epsilon rocket to seven satellites, including the RAPIS-1 technology demonstration mission, into orbit. Epsilon will lift off from the Uchinoura Space Centre during a nine-minute, 17-second window that opens at 09:50:20 local time (00:50 UTC).
The primary payload for Friday’s launch is the Rapid Innovation Payload Demonstration Satellite, RAPIS-1, for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Also known as the Innovative Technology Demonstration Satellite, this spacecraft aims to test components in orbit for potential use on future missions. The 200-kilogram (440-lb) satellite is cube-shaped, with sides of one meter (3.3 feet), and was constructed by Axelspace in conjunction with JAXA. RAPIS-1 will operate in a sun-synchronous orbit.
RAPIS-1 is expected to operate for at least one year. In that time, it will test several technologies in orbit. These include a nanobridge-based field-programmable gate array (NBFPGA) which will be evaluated for use in future integrated circuit chips, an X-band communications payload incorporating a high data-rate transmitter and medium-gain antenna and a reaction control system for maneuvering the satellite which uses more environmentally-friendly propellants.
Other experiments include a particle monitor and star trackers that incorporate deep machine learning to ascertain ...