News On Japan

Kushimoto Prepares for Historic Rocket Launch

Wakayama, Mar 07 (News On Japan) - Kushimoto, located at the southernmost tip of Honshu, is on the brink of opening a new path for Japan's space industry with the launch of KAIROS scheduled for Saturday.

Courtesy of Space One Co

This launch comes with several "firsts" for Japan. Until now, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) has led rocket launches and satellite orbit insertions, using JAXA's exclusive launch sites. This time, the launch will take place at Japan's first civilian rocket launch site. If a civilian rocket successfully carries a government satellite into orbit, it will be another first for Japan.

One of the main selling points of this civilian rocket is that it can be launched within a year of receiving a request. Professor Shinichi Nakasuka from the University of Tokyo Graduate School says, "Satellite development is moving from '5-6 years' to '1-2 years.' There are cases where satellites scheduled for other rockets are postponed due to government missions or rocket malfunctions. There's a market for 'leftover satellites' from launches."

The rocket is named "Kairos" after the ancient Greek word for "time", embodying a strong will to "dominate the market by making time an ally."

The success or failure of this rocket launch will have a significant impact on the town's future.

In preparation for the launch, two paid viewing areas have been set up, and a total of 5,000 seats sold out in just two days.

A local confectionery store, not wanting to miss the opportunity to attract visitors, is selling manju shaped like rockets. It took four years to complete the product. Masao Maruyama, the manufacturing manager, says, "I hope people who come to see the rocket will eat the sweets I made with my heart, feel the memories of the rocket and Kushimoto, and think it was good to come to Kushimoto."

The "Rocket Promotion Room" was created a few years ago in anticipation of the rocket launch. This department, in collaboration with surrounding municipalities, handles various adjustments related to the launch and plans events.

This civilian rocket is not a one-time event. The goal is to eventually conduct 30 launches a year in Kushimoto Town. This represents a "major turning point" for the town. Kazuma Higashida, chief of the Kushimoto Town Rocket Promotion Room, says, "We are facing issues like population decline and aging. We hope that this rocket will lead to economic and industrial development, create jobs, and help curb these issues. I hope this first launch will mark the beginning of 'Rocket Town Kushimoto.'"

Next month, a "Space Exploration Course" will be newly established at a public high school in the prefecture for the first time nationwide. The curriculum, which uses White Puzzles employed in astronaut recruitment exams, aims to produce talents who can excel in space. Toru Fujishima, a teacher at Kushimoto Kozagawa High School who worked at JAXA for 9 years, says, "I think Kushimoto is currently thriving in tourism and fishing. If space becomes the third pillar, students can learn a lot and go out from Kushimoto to take on Japan's space."

Source: ANN

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