US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — We will have to wait a few more years to see the first big show with the participation of artificial meteors from a Japanese company.
ALE (Astro Live Experiences) from Tokyo this year planned to create “shooting stars” using its satellite ALE-2, which entered Earth’s orbit in December 2019 on the Rocket Lab Electron rocket.
A satellite weighing 75 kilograms is filled with 400 spheres with a diameter of 1 centimeter, which are designed to burn with bright colors when entering the Earth’s atmosphere. But ALE-2 was unable to expand these areas, the company announced last month.
Testing and analysis showed that “one of the parts that should launch the spheres does not move properly and that it cannot turn to the desired position. This means that the launch will not be possible, ALE representatives said in a statement dated April 20.
In a space vacuum, the friction force is higher than here on Earth, and as a result, materials can stick together, the statement said. The analysis showed, “that this particular cosmic effect turned out to be larger than predicted in the calculations.”
ALE will take this information into account when developing and testing the ALE-3 satellite, which is scheduled to launch at the end of 2022, and commercial operations will begin in early 2023.
“We will definitely succeed next time!”
ALE CEO Lena Okajima said in a statement: “I hope you will continue to support us in this venture.”
The company provides for sky shows for major events such as the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games. According to representatives of ALE, artificial shooting stars will fly through the Earth’s atmosphere much slower than real meteors, and therefore will remain visible for much longer – from about 3 to 10 seconds each.
Glowing granules do not pose a threat to people on earth or aircraft in the air. According to documents on the company’s website, small spheres are designed to burn completely at an altitude of 60-80 km above the Earth’s surface.
As the name implies, ALE-2 is the second satellite of ALE. The first, ALE-1, was launched in January 2019 and initially planned to test the reset of artificial meteors in the same year. But this plan also seems to have changed; in a statement of April 2020, Okajima stated that the company hopes to “implement an artificial meteor show in early 2023.”
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