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Japan rocket startup to send paper planes into space in next launch

This May 4, 2019 file photo taken via a remote camera shows the successful MOMO-3 rocket launch, in the town of Taiki, Hokkaido. (Mainichi/Taichi Kaizuka)

SAPPORO -- It's a paper promise that the company making it has every intention of keeping.

Japanese startup Interstellar Technologies Inc., the first private firm in Japan to successfully launch a rocket into space, announced on June 13 that its next space-bound vehicle would be carrying paper airplanes, which it will release high above the Earth in a world first.

Interstellar Technologies launched the MOMO-3 unmanned rocket into space from a facility in the town of Taiki in Japan's northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido on May 4.

"For our next step, we want to try the unprecedented mission of sending paper planes gliding down to the ground from space. We hope this will help people feel closer to the universe and enjoy our space project," the company stated.

According to Interstellar Technologies, the MOMO-4 observation rocket will carry a payload of three paper airplanes to an altitude of more than 100 kilometers. The planes will be released by the press of a button by an operator on the ground, and are expected to re-enter the atmosphere and glide earthward. The company has developed a new device to release the paper planes.

The company also announced on June 13 that it would cover its operational expenses through internet-based crowdfunding, with the names of contributors printed on the paper planes.

(Japanese original by Junichi Tsuchiya, Hokkaido News Department)

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