A microsatellite carrying model robots from the popular science fiction anime “Mobile Suit Gundam” was successfully launched to promote the Olympics, organizers said Saturday.
The so-called G-Satellite, which contains two figurines from the animated series, hitched a ride to the International Space Station on Friday aboard a SpaceX/Dragon cargo flight from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
It will reach the ISS on Monday at 8 p.m. Japan time.
The satellite will be released into orbit in the latter part of April and will circle Earth during the Olympics and Paralympics, marking the first time a satellite is used to celebrate the games.
According to organizers, the satellite, which has an electronic bulletin board and seven small cameras, will send back images of the robots and messages displayed in English, French and Japanese.
The initiative is part of the Tokyo 2020 One Team Project launched in collaboration with the University of Tokyo and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
The ISS will also play a role in the Olympic and Paralympic torch relays, with JAXA astronauts Soichi Noguchi and Akihiko Hoshide sending messages to the torchbearers from orbit.