Interstellar Technologies’ Microsatellite Launch Vehicle “ZERO” Succeeded in Fairing Separation Test



Interstellar Technologies Inc. (headquartered in Taiki, Hiroo-gun, Hokkaido; Takahiro Inagawa, CEO; hereinafter referred to as “IST”), a comprehensive space infrastructure company that aims to solve Earth’s problems through space transportation and utilization, conducted a fairing separation test for the microsatellite launch vehicle “ZERO” on February 10, 2023 at the Fukushima Robot Test Field. The fairing is a protective cover for satellites and other payloads mounted at the front of the launch vehicle, and after the atmosphere becomes thin enough, the fairing separates into two parts. In this test, we confirmed that the fairing separated as designed and detached from the vehicle body. Based on the data obtained from this test, we will begin to design and manufacture the flight model.

Use of Separation Mechanism that Significantly Reduces Shock

IST develops the microsatellite launch vehicle “ZERO” (length 25m, diameter 1.7m, total weight 33t) as a follow-up rocket to the sounding rocket “MOMO”, which has reached space three times. The fairing reduces drag during launch and protects the satellite from aerodynamic heating during high-speed flight. IST’s fairing is cylindrical in shape, 3.6 m high and 1.7 m in diameter, and is made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP), a lightweight and strong material. The separation mechanism is the first in Japan to incorporate a device that does not use explosives, which has become mainstream among commercial rocket companies overseas. This design significantly reduces shock at the time of fairing separation and is friendly to the payload.
In addition, this test was conducted in cooperation with PHOTRON LIMITED, which took high-resolution slow-motion video footage using a high-performance high-speed camera. We will analyze the footage using special software.

Test Overview

Test name: Fairing Separation Test
Purpose of test: Verify that the fairing separates and detaches from the body as designed
Test date: February 10, 2023
Location: Fukushima Robot Test Field (Minamisoma, Fukushima prefecture)
Test result: Confirmed that the separation mechanism functioned normally and that the fairing detached with the planned behavior. Also obtained data necessary for measurement and analysis of behavior

Press Release | 20230215__ZERO_ Succeeded in Fairing Separation Test