Japan is scheduled to launch a variety of technology-demonstrating payloads to orbit tonight (Oct. 11), and you can watch the action live.
A Japanese Epsilon rocket is scheduled to lift off from Uchinoura Space Center at 8:50 p.m. EDT tonight (0050 GMT and 9:50 a.m. local Japan time on Oct. 12 ). Watch it live here at Space.com, courtesy of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or directly via JAXA (opens in new tab). Coverage is expected to begin about 35 minutes before launch.
The mission, known as Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstration 3, will be Japan's first orbital liftoff of 2022.
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The main satellite flying tonight is called RAISE 3, which is short for "Rapid Innovative payload demonstration Satellite 3." The roughly 220-pound (100 kilograms) spacecraft carries seven separate technologies that will get a test in Earth orbit, if all goes according to plan.
Among those technologies are two small experimental thrusters, including one that uses water as fuel; a drag sail designed to help satellites deorbit more quickly and efficiently; and a deployable membrane structure that can generate power and also serve as an antenna.
Five tiny cubesats are also launching on the Epsilon tonight as rideshare payloads, according to EverydayAstronaut.com (opens in new tab).
Tonight's launch will be the sixth overall for the 78-foot-tall (24 meters) Epsilon, a solid-fuel rocket that debuted in September 2013 and can deliver up to 2,646 pounds (1,200 kg) to low Earth orbit, according to its JAXA specifications page (opens in new tab).
All five Epsilon missions to date have been successful. The most recent one, which launched in November 2021, carried the RAISE 2 satellite and eight small rideshare spacecraft to orbit for JAXA's Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstration Program.
The first mission in that program, which aims to encourage the development of innovative space tech, also employed an Epsilon. That flight, which launched in January 2019, featured a main spacecraft called RAPIS 1 ("Rapid Innovative Payload Demonstration Satellite 1").
Mike Wall is the author of "Out There (opens in new tab)" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or Facebook (opens in new tab).