KUKAI was successfully launched on January 23, 2009 by the H-IIA rocket
of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) with the main satellite “GOSAT.”The
planned orbit is sun synchronous (Altitude: 666km, Inclination: 98deg).
Main characteristics of KUKAI are: (i) it is two satellites system, mother
and daughter; (ii) it becomes a 5m tethered system on orbit at the maximum;
(iii) the daughter satellite is a tethered space robot, whose attitude
can be controlled by its own arm link motion. The mother satellite has
tether deployment and tension control systems, and it deploys the daughter
satellite and retrieves it. The daughter satellite is a tethered space
robot, and it has one arm link attached to the end of the tether.After
the separation from the rocket, the initial check for satellite condition
was confirmed successfully for the first 10
days.Though tether deployment mission was performed after the initial
check, tether was deployed for several centimeters only due to the launch
lock trouble of the tether reel mechanism. However, basic functions of
the tether reel and the robot mechanisms were confirmed.