The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency successfully launched the second Epsilon Launch Vehicle at 8:00 p.m. (JST) on 20th December from the Uchinoura Space Center. The payload was the Exploration of energization and Radiation in Geospace (ERG) research satellite.
The second flight comes more than three years after the inaugural launch of the light launcher in September 2013.
The launch vehicle flew as planned, and at approximately 13 minutes and 27 seconds after liftoff, the separation of the 365kg satellite was confirmed. Signals received in the Santiago Ground Station in Chile confirmed that the satellite’s solar array paddles had deployed as planned.
Now redesignated Arase after a river near the Uchinoura Space Center, the satellite is on the way to the Van Allen radiation belts. It will seek to elucidate how high-energy electrons in the radiation belts are accelerated to extreme velocities and explore the mechanisms involved in the development of space storms.
The Japanese satellite will join the two NASA Van Allen probes launched on an orbit through the radiation belts in 2012.