Photos of your names on the IKAROS spacecraft
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla
14-05-2010 15:11 CDT
IKAROS, Japan's solar sail, is nearly ready for launch, piggybacked behind the Venus orbiter Akatsuki. JAXA is advertising a webcast of the launch event available through this link beginning at 6:15 a.m. Japan time May 18 (21:15 UTC / 14:15 California time May 17); launch is planned for half an hour later.
Earlier this week we received some awesome photos of the silica glass DVD provided to JAXA by The Planetary Society being mounted on the spacecraft. This all happened on April 25. If you're a member, or if you signed up on our website, your name is on this disk, and will fly past Venus with IKAROS! I especially like this photo showing the assembly and integration team (I presume) with the spacecraft and the DVD. The fellow with the blue gloves in the middle is holding the little DVD.
Here's a closeup on the spacecraft. The silvery thing is the sail; it'll be deployed through centrifugal force, by spinning the spacecraft after its launch.
Here's a nice shot of them getting ready to attach the DVD...
And there it is, velcroed to the spacecraft, ready to carry your names into space!
If you missed the chance to get your name onto this sailcraft, don't worry. You can still sign up to launch your name with The Planetary Society's LightSail 1.