BY MICHAEL PAVITT
Tokyo 2020 have launched a “G-Satellite Go to Space” project which has the aim of promoting the Olympic and Paralympic Games from space.
The project aims to manufacture a small satellite and deploy it in orbit around the earth.
Tokyo 2020 have collaborated with the University of Tokyo and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on the project, along with three companies in Fukui prefecture.
Tokyo 2020 state it will be the first time in Olympic and Paralympic history that a satellite commissioned for the Games will orbit the earth independently.
The initiative is part of the Tokyo 2020 One Team Project, which was launched by organisers back in August 2017.
Japan’s leading creators, innovators and performers were invited to express their own interpretations of the vision for the Tokyo 2020 as part of the One Team Project.
“When I heard about this project, I wondered whether they would really go through with it,” said Shinichi Nakasuka, a professor at Intelligent Space Systems Laboratory in the University of Tokyo.
“We’ve put satellites into orbit before, but then I thought we might be able to do something in space to help cheer on the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“I’m feeling a bit of pressure as the creator of the satellite for this project, but I will turn that pressure into enjoyment and do my best.”
Tokyo 2020 have stated the satellite will include Mobile Suite Gundam and Char’s Zaku on board, with the two considered among Japan’s most popular animated characters.
The figures will be resized in order to fit into the satellite and will be produced using special materials and paints that can withstand space.
Both medals will be put through various tests prior to launch, including vibration and impact assessments and tests reproducing the effects of a vacuum.
Their eyes will be able to reflect each of the five Olympic colours, it is claimed.
The satellite will orbit the earth for the duration of the Games and will broadcast images and displaying messages on its electric bulletin board, as well as filming the animated figures.
“The Olympics and Paralympics are a festival that will bring athletes from all over the world to Tokyo and to Japan to compete with one another,” said Koji Murofushi, Tokyo 2020 Sports Director.
“With the addition of space as a new dimension for Tokyo 2020, I hope that the Games will become an even bigger event.
“I am really looking forward to Gundam and Zaku cheering on the athletes and the Tokyo 2020 Games from space.”
The satellite is expected to be delivered to JAXA this autumn.
It will then be carried to the International Space Station aboard a supply ship in March 2020.
The satellite will be released from the station between March and April next year, depending on the orbiter’s other programmes.
Further details about the characters and the satellite are expected to be announced in December.