Status Report

JAXA’s Tether Technologies Rocket Experiment (T-REX) Launched

By SpaceRef Editor
September 4, 2010
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JAXA’s Tether Technologies Rocket Experiment (T-REX) Launched

The sounding rocket S-520-25 was successfully launched at 5:00 a.m. on August 31, 2010 (Japan Standard Time,) from the Uchinoura Space Center. The vertical angle at the launch was 82.5 degrees. The S-520-25 was designated to conduct basic experiments on the electro-dynamic tether (EDT) in the ionosphere and to control the attitude of a robot using a tether under the micro-gravity environment while the rocket was making a sub-orbit flight for about 10 minutes to reach its maximum altitude of some 300 km.

The rocket flew normally, and, at 55 seconds after liftoff, its top part opened, and at 58 seconds, the plasma measurement probe (FLP, SSP) was deployed to start observations. The conductive tether was extended at about 120 seconds, and the extension image was transmitted to the ground through the Ku telemetry. The Tethered Space Robot (TSR) was separated from the auxiliary unit of the rocket (DAU) at 297 seconds, and its attitude was controlled by the TSR arm until 310 seconds after liftoff.

Concerning the plasma collection experiment, we were able to successfully extend the conductive tether and boom and verify the high-speed ignition function of the Hollow Cathode (HC) despite the fact that the high-voltage control was not carried out as scheduled, thus we have gained a perspective to develop a more efficient plasma collection device.

The S-520-25 rocket reached a maximum altitude of 309 km at 283 seconds after liftoff, completed all observation projects, and fell down to the ocean south-east of Uchinoura.

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SpaceRef staff editor.