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Gundam models to travel to outer space to promote 2020 Tokyo Games

From left, JAXA astronaut Norishige Kanai, Koji Murofushi, the 2004 Athens Olympic hammer throw gold medalist, Yoshiyuki Tomino, general director of "Mobile Suit Gundam," and Shinichi Nakasuka, a professor at the University of Tokyo, are seen at a press conference in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on May 15, 2019, to announce the project to transport plastic robot models from the popular animated TV series to outer space. (Mainichi/Junichi Sasaki)

TOKYO -- Plastic robot models from the popular animated TV series "Mobile Suit Gundam" will travel to space to help promote the 2020 Tokyo Games, the project team announced on May 15.

The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and other groups held a press conference in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on the day to reveal details about the project to transport the plastic models to outer space in collaboration with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The globally popular robots, which fight in space in the animation series, are scheduled to reach their destination next spring.

The models are planned to be transported by a microsatellite measuring 10 centimeters by 10 centimeters by 30 centimeters, which is being developed in cooperation with Shinichi Nakasuka, a professor with the School of Engineering, the University of Tokyo. The microsatellite is scheduled for delivery to JAXA this autumn and is planned to be transported to the International Space Station (ISS) by a supply vessel next March. The models are slated to go on a spacewalk from the ISS by the end of April 2020.

The microsatellite will be equipped with seven cameras to photograph the plastic models.

The animation series was first televised in 1979 and has subsequently been adapted into numerous sequels and spin-offs. Kits to make plastic models of its robots have become very popular in Japan and many foreign countries.

(Japanese original by Kazuhiro Tahara, Sports News Department)

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