Japan Launches ERG Satellite To Study Earth’s Radiation Belts

Posted: Dec 21 2016, 5:41am CST | by , Updated: Dec 21 2016, 5:43am CST , in Latest Science News


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Japan Launches ERG Satellite to Study Earth’s Radiation Belts
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  • Japanese Spacecraft will Study Earth’s Van Allen Radiation Belts

New Japanese spacecraft will help scientists in understanding the near earth environment with radiations.The Exploration of energization and Radiation in Geospace (ERG) satellite was launched by Epsilon rocket from Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency on Dec 20, 2016.

ERG started off an Epsilon rocket from Uchinoura Space Center in the Southern Japan on Dec 20 at 6.a.mEST, 100 GMT, and 8 p.m. local Japan time. Exploration of energization and Radiation in Geospace or ERG satellite is the main aim of this Japanese mission.

According to the scientists, if everything goes smooth, ERG will stay in an elliptical orbit getting closer to the earth as 350 km or 215 miles, and far from earth as 30,000km, or 18,640 miles.

Van Allen radiation belts are formed in the path containing electrons and several other particles. The particles can destroy the satellite maintained by computer system, and will create a radiation danger to the astronauts, stated Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

Main purpose of ERG is to study the magnetic field, and detect the movement of electrons and development of space storms caused by high speed electrons.

According to JAXA officials, ERG will observe ions and electrons in the geospace. During one year of first mission, the satellite will use 9 tools to observe the radiations near earth’s space.

The launch of 20th Dec is Japan’s second launch of Epsilon rocket, as the first launch happened in 2013, according to Space.com. This Epsilon rocket is 85 foot tall and can lift 3,300 lbs, or 355 kgs. to earth’s orbit. The rocket is very economical and can launch affordable satellites.

The cost of the first Epsilon launch was 3.8 billion yen, that becomes $32.4 million according to current exchange rate, stated JAXA officials. The scientists are hoping to find even more affordable tools in future to explore space near Earth.

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