February 11th, 2005

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This Day In History, 1970: Japan Enters Space

On February 11, 1970, Japan became the world's fourth space power.

Japan's first satellite, Ohsumi, is succesfully launched from the Kagoshima Space Center on the east coast of Japan's Ohsumi Peninsula. The launch was originally intended to practice the rocket inserting the satellite into orbit, so the OhsumiI had few onboard instruments, which were an accelerometer, thermometer, transmitter, and the power source of the silver oxide/zinc carbon cell. The achievement made Japan the world's fourth space power, after the Soviet Union in 1957, the United States in 1958, and France in 1965. Two months after Japan's launching of Ohsumi, China became the world's fifth space power when it successfully launched Mao 1 into space.

The Ohsumi satellite's life finally came to an end on August 2, 2003, when its orbit decayed and it fell back to Earth over northern Africa.

For more information: see http://www.tbs-satellite.com/tse/online/sat_ohsumi.html and http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=12761

(Personal note: 1970. Wow. This took place a little over two weeks before I was born...)