Japan’s latest space telescope soared from Earth this Saturday, strapped to their Epsilon rocket. Quite extraordinarily, the payload was successfully delivered using a series of laptops.
The strategy is part of an initiative to reduce the financial barriers to space exploration, via simplification of the launch procedure.
According to the space agency, known as JAXA, costs were reduced by implementing an autonomous series of readiness checks performed by the space vehicle itself, prior to launch; This helped shorten the length of time required to prepare the launch.
According to NPR, the telescope’s launch cost was shy of $40 million. Relative to NASA’s launch costs, which is typically around the $500 million dollar mark, this represents a substantial saving.
According to officials at JAXA, the team indicate that the power of the Internet can be harnessed to monitor and control its rockets “… anywhere in the world, using a laptop computer.”
The new satellite is called SPRINT-A, which stands for Spectroscopic Planet Observatory for Recognition of Interaction of Atmosphere, and will attempt to explore a number of planets, including Mars, Jupiter and Venus.
By: James Fenner