Tokyo 2020 Set to Launch Gundam Models into Space to Encourage Athletes
The Olympics always inspires great achievements, and Tokyo 2020 will be no different. The organizing committee of the XXXII Olympic games has just announced their plan to launch models of the robots from the popular ‘Gundam’ franchise into space to make the opening of the event.
Gundam is a science fiction media franchise that features giant robots (mecha) with the name "Gundam". The franchise started way back in 1979 and now includes television series, films, manga, novels, and video games.
Models of the robots are also hugely popular in Japan and among anime fans across the world.
Tiny satellite set to transport model robots
Two of these 10-centimeter models depicting Gundam and Char’s Zaku robots will be launched into orbit aboard a 30-cm long, 10-cm wide microsatellite, dubbed the “G Satellite.” The tiny satellite will be sent to the ISS and launched from the Japanese Experiment Module next year.
The University of Tokyo will be designed the satellite that will allow one Gundam model to be mounted on top while the Char’s Zaku will sit in the “cockpit.”
Each robot has a small screen at its feet to display messages of support for the competing athletes while their eyes will sequence through the colors of the Olympic rings.
Weird Japan lives up to the reputation
Seven cameras will be mounted to the satellite to catch all the action as it orbits Earth. It is the first time that a satellite has been specially commissioned for the Olympic games.
Shinichi Nakasuka, a professor at Intelligent Space Systems Laboratory, University of Tokyo, commented, “When I heard about this project, I wondered whether they would really go through with it. We've put satellites into orbit before, but then I thought we might be able to do something in space to help cheer on the Olympic and Paralympic Games. I'm feeling a bit of pressure as the creator of the satellite for this project, but I will turn that pressure into enjoyment and do my best.”
The models being sent to space are specially commissioned for the journey and will be coated in a resin that will protect them from the harsh conditions of space. Prototypes of the models will be thoroughly tested before they launch.
Further details of the satellite and model design will be revealed at a press conference in December this year.
Olympics make an impression on space
Tokyo 2020 Sports Director Koji Murofushi added, “The Olympics and Paralympics are a festival that will bring athletes from all over the world to Tokyo and to Japan to compete with one another. With the addition of space as a new dimension for Tokyo 2020, I hope that the Games will become an even bigger event. I am really looking forward to GUNDAM and ZAKU cheering on the athletes and the Tokyo 2020 Games from space.”
The “G-SATELLITE” will begin its journey from the ISS between March and April 2020; the precise date will depend on the orbiter's other programs.
The 2020 Summer Olympics will begin on Friday, July 24.
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