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Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Jun 8, 2006 16:37:31 GMT -6
$880,000 Buys you a satellite
For a mere 100 million yen (880,000 dollars), you can now buy a small satellite to orbit the earth at an altitude of about 600-800 kilometers (372-496 miles), said Astro Research Corp., a space development company.
"Until now, a satellite was something ordinary people could not afford to buy," company executive Ichiro Koike told a press conference Thursday.
"But space has always been mysterious and pure. That is why people feel romantic about it," he said, suggesting a husband might send a love letter into space in the capsule instead of buying expensive jewelry.
The 20 kilogram (44 pounds) satellite contains a smaller cubic box made of aluminum alloy to protect the personal objects -- until the satellite falls and burns out in the atmosphere after about 20 or 30 years in orbit.
As the satellite orbits the earth about 14 times a day, it would pass above the Japanese archipelago twice a day, at which point the client would be notified by mobile phone or email.
"We want to seek ways in which ordinary people can make better personal use of space," Astro Research president Mitsuteru Suzuki said.