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SMi Global MilSatCom 2019  Satellite Communications Technology

Japanese “Meteors Showers” satellites to use KSAT Lite Ground Network

(10 October 2018 - KSAT) Tokyo-based space entertainment company ALE Co., Ltd. has chosen KSAT as their Ground Station Services provider to support their micro-satellites that will produce on-demand artificial meteor showers.

The Japanese company will launch two unique small satellites aiming to provide artificial on-demand meteor showers.

The first satellite is planned to be launched on an Epsilon rocket being launched by Japan's space agency, JAXA by March next year, while the second micro-satellite will launch in mid-2019.

The company´s approach is event-based, using space as their stage and even in the Newspace-world this is very new and exciting. ALE, with their innovation-driven CEO Dr Lena Okajima, with a background from investment banking, is a different satellite operator also when it comes to their customer base.

Okajima and her team is taking entertainment to a whole other level, offering on-demand meteor showers to clients worldwide that require something truly extraordinary. The first show is planned to take place over Japan’s Hiroshima and Setouchi area, because of its good weather, variety of landscapes, and cultural assets, in 2020, but after that private companies and governments will be able to put on a meteor shower anywhere. It is a world-first to have a satellite operator focusing on the entertainment industry as the main driver. ALE’s satellites will enable new entertainment services that has never been seen before.

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(courtesy: KSAT)

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ALE and KSAT partnership in Tokyo. CEO Dr. Lena Okajima and KSAT’s Asia Director Mr. Kenneth Olafsson. (courtesy: KSAT)

“We aim to produce artificial meteor showers by projecting small particles, made out of special materials, from the orbiting micro-satellites. When the particles re-enter the earth’s atmosphere, they burn through a process known as plasma emission, creating the appearance of beautiful meteor showers to impress the spectators on the ground. Says Dr Lena Okajima. “These two first test-satellites will have enough pellets for about 20 events, and if skies are clear enough, each show could be seen around 120 mile range”.

Seemingly all for fun, the mission also has a more scientific side to it. Being able to study the path of artificial meteor showers where the angle of incidence, velocity and materials are known, ALE is hoping to be able to better understand the mechanics of naturally occurring meteor showers and meteorites.

Okajima says “We hope not only to entertain people with meteor shower shows, but also to utilize the data we gain through our operation to learn more about the atmosphere of Earth, which is not well known today”.

KSAT will provide vital support to ALE and their two satellites from both the Svalbard and Troll Ground Stations, an important factor for the operational concept to work.

KSAT´s Sales Director Asia, Kenneth Olafsson, has closely worked with ALE to develop a solution that fits such a unique and fascinating concept. “KSAT will utilize the KSAT Lite network tailored to small satellite operators. The trust and confidence in KSAT as a low-cost, flexible and customer-driven provider has been the key in finalizing a solution for ALE. The Newspace scene evolving in Japan is really interesting and the focus on new and innovative ideas and business concepts makes a difference in driving the industry forward.”

About ALE

ALE is a Japan-based space entertainment company that creates meteor showers on demand using its microsatellites. Its mission is to contribute to scientific research and development through entertainment. It was founded in September 2011 by Lena Okajima, a serial entrepreneur with a Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Tokyo.

About KSAT

Kongsberg Satellite Services AS (KSAT) is a commercial Norwegian company, uniquely positioned to provide ground station and earth observation services for polar orbiting satellites. KSAT is the leading provider of Ground services for the SmallSat industry, owning and operating Global Ground Station Network consisting of over 130 antennas at 20 sites.