Japanese firm to launch love satellites

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Tokyo, Sep 3 (IANS) A Japanese start-up linked to the University of Tsukuba is set to launch small satellites with commemorative titanium plaques carrying love messages into space by the end of 2019, the company said on Monday.

Those interested would be able to engrave messages of their choice on the plaques, which would be 1.8 centimeters long and 0.8 centimeter wide, set to be carried to space aboard the satellites and orbit around the Earth for around two years before being destroyed, Efe reported.

Around 10 centimeters in size, the CubeSat satellites would be able to carry up to 600 pure titanium plaques and would be transported to the International Space Station (ISS) by a rocket of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

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In the ISS, the astronauts stationed there will take photographs of the ultra-small satellite which would be then sent to the couples to prove that their messages have reached space, Warspace CEO Toshihiro Kameda said.

The start-up had planned to offer this service exclusively to the couples getting married at a hotel in Tsukuba, in Ibaraki prefecture, for the price of $270, but in the face of growing demand it decided to expand its offer and set up an online order facility in September.

Although they have not determined the number of people interested in the service yet, couples from Japan, the US and Taiwan have contacted the company.

The mini satellites and the plaques would be destroyed after two years by burning up when they come in contact with Earth’s atmosphere, said Kameda, a professor who teaches the mechanics of materials at the University of Tsukuba.

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If this service receives a good response, Warspace would expand its business and will send out more commemorative objects into space which would later return to Earth, the head of the project said.

–IANS

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