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[[Series 1: Introduction of the Current Status of Small Japanese Satellites]] Introduction of PRISM

JAXA plans to launch the Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite (GOSAT), together with six small piggyback satellites, in the summer of 2008. Selected six small satellites were introduced in APRSAF feature stories and they are now being developed well.

The launch date has not been determined yet, but the project leaders of each small satellite are preparing to launch their satellites this summer season.

Taking this opportunity of six months before the planned launch, and as the first article in this series, the APRSAF secretariat interviewed Prof. Shinichi Nakasuka, Project manager of the small satellites (PRISM), Tokyo University, to learn about the current developmental status of PRISM and his determination to develop it. Here, we introduce part of the interview we had with him.

At present (March 2008), we have almost finished manufacturing the Engineering Model (EM) and done the ground testing for it, and we are about to start manufacturing the Flight Model (FM).

For the expansion boom in particular, as one of the important devices that supports the lens of the narrow-angle camera, we performed two weightless flight experiments in March and September 2007 and confirmed the re-creation of the dynamics when the expansion boom expands and the re-creation of the position of the lens and the attitude, and we repeatedly improved the design based on the experimental data obtained.

We have finished making the onboard Engineering Module (EM) of a separation system for a rocket and we are now conducting vibration tests on the state of the rocket when PRISM is in the separation device. In November 2007, we held a review meeting and CDR and introduced some outside experts.

Our satellites (including five other satellites chosen in 2007) are scheduled to be launched on JAXA?s H-IIA rocket in 2009, as piggy back satellites together with the main satellite GOSAT.

We strongly intend to make our satellite a success and obtain brilliant results so that this system, whereby JAXA takes applications for small satellites to place onboard an H-IIA rocket, continues for a long time.
Since 2002, our laboratory has been making great efforts to get PRIZM launched. We now think our earnest wish is at last going to be fulfilled. This satellite, called PRISM, is packed with all the students' dreams and technologies that could not fit into CubSat because they were too large."

EM(Engineering Model)

Concept design of PRISM in orbit


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