Ja­pan rocket with manga art launches satel­lite into space

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

TOKYO: A Ja­panese rocket that fired a weather satel­lite into space yes­ter­day was decked out in col­or­ful manga in a bid to raise aware­ness among kids about the won­ders of the uni­verse. The H-IIA rocket car­ry­ing the Hi­mawari-9 weather satel­lite blasted into a cloudy sky at the Tane­gashima Space Cen­ter in south­ern Kagoshima pre­fec­ture at 3:20 pm (0620 GMT).

Ja­pan’s do­mes­ti­cally de­vel­oped main­stay rocket car­ried two pieces of manga art­work orig­i­nally drawn by Chuya Koyama, known for his comic book on two brothers who dream about be­com­ing as­tro­nauts. “We be­lieve it’s the first time in the world to launch a rocket with manga art on it,” said Hirokazu Kosada of Young As­tro­nauts Club Ja­pan, the foun­da­tion that or­gan­ised the rocket art project.

The art­works were cre­ated by us­ing 30,000 dig­i­tal im­ages of pho­tographs and paint­ings sent by chil­dren across Ja­pan, ac­cord­ing to Kosada. One of the manga, which in to­tal mea­sures three­me­tres (nine-feet) tall and oc­cu­pies the up­per part of the 53-me­tre long rocket, de­picted 12 jump­ing chil­dren. “We wanted chil­dren in Ja­pan to be in­ter­ested in space and the weather,” Kosada told AFP.

Ja­pan has a mas­sive space pro­gram and the coun­try has achieved suc­cesses in both sci­en­tific and com­mer­cial satel­lite launches. It has sent as­tro­nauts on space shut­tle and In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion mis­sions. —AFP

TANE­GASHIMA IS­LAND: Ja­pan’s H-2A rocket, car­ry­ing a Hi­mawari-9 weather satel­lite, is launched at the Tane­gashima Space Cen­ter in Kagoshima Pre­fec­ture yes­ter­day. —AFP

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