Japanese new space startup Interstellar Technologies (IST) is preparing to launch origami paper aeroplanes aboard a sake-powered rocket. MOMO-4 is the launch provider’s fourth mission, with the last becoming the first to launch a privately developed Japanese rocket to space.
MOMO-4 is currently scheduled to be launched on July 13 at 02:05 UTC (11:05 JPT) from Interstellar Technologies’ launch facility in Taiki-cho, Japan. The 10-meter tall rocket will carry a number of small payloads including three origami paper aeroplanes. The paper planes were developed by Castem Co., a precision parts manufacturer based in Fukuyama that helped fund the mission. Castem has set a number of paper plane Guinness World Records through its Oriplane initiative.
The three paper planes will be ejected from the rocket through a special 2-centimetre wide cylinder. The planes are expected to drift back to Earth over what will presumably be several hours.
“Carrying items (to space) was the original job of a rocket. By making it possible for people’s ideas and dreams to reach space, I hope to awaken all sorts of business opportunities,” said Takahiro Inagawa, Interstellar Technologies 32-year-old president.
In addition to Castem, Heiwa Shuzou, a sake brewery based in the Wakayama prefecture has also contributed to the upcoming MOMO-4 mission. As part of their contribution, a distilled batch of the brewery’s Kid sake will be added to the rocket’s fuel. The MOMO rocket is fueled by liquid oxygen and ethanol (alcohol).
As Interstellar Technologies prepares to launch the MOMO-4 mission, the company is simultaneously working on its first orbital launch vehicle, the Zero. The rocket will be capable of launching payloads up to 100 kilograms to a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 500 kilometres.