Press Release


Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation of the Sun (IKAROS)
International Message Campaign for Mission Support

December 4, 2009 (JST)

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is scheduled to launch the Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation Of the Sun (IKAROS)*1 by the H-IIA Launch Vehicle in Japan Fiscal Year 2010 (as a secondary payload to the main payload, Venus Climate Orbiter "AKATSUKI.")
We would like to launch a mission support campaign together with The Planetary Society in the United States, which also plans to launch a solar sail spacecraft named "LightSail-1"*2 at the end of 2010.
JAXA would like to encourage people all over the world to send us their supportive messages to be carried aboard the IKAROS and the LightSail-1 on printed aluminum plates or on a Mini-DVD. We sincerely hope that our campaign will accelerate this international collaboration, exchange and promote the public's understanding of solar sail research and development.

The following is the information about the campaign.

1. Campaign name
"Let's Set Sail for the Solar System on a Solar Yacht!"

2. Campaign period
December 4 (Fri.), 2009 through March 14 (Sun.), 2010 (Japan Standard Time) for the Mini-DVD,
December 4 (Fri.), 2009 through February 28 (Sun.), 2010 (Japan Standard Time) for printed metal plates.

3. How to apply
Please send messages through the following websites.
   English site:
   Japanese site:

Your names and messages will be recorded and printed.
We are looking forward to hearing from many of you.

Scheduled to be launched in JFY 2010, the Earth-to-Venus Interplanetary Space
JAXA IKAROS measures 14.1 x 14.1 square meters.

Scheduled to be launched in late 2010, the Earth Orbit Planetary Society
LightSail-1 measures
5.5 x 5.5 square meters.

*1 IKAROS is a spacecraft that cruises by reflecting sunlight on its deployed membrane. While gaining propulsive force from sunlight, IKAROS also generates electric power from the thin film solar cells spanned on its membrane. IKAROS will be the first spacecraft in the world to demonstrate solar photon sail technology in interplanetary space and generate electric power from the thin film solar cells aboard.

*2 The Planetary Society is one of the world's leading organizations to promote planetary missions and exploration through flight projects, public relations, and educational activities. The LightSail-1 is a kite-shape spacecraft with a 5.5m x 5.5m square sail to reflect sunlight on an earth-revolving orbit at an altitude of 800 km. It will demonstrate that sunlight can provide propulsive power to spacecraft.

For more details about IKAROS, please check the following site.