Space-age promo for Japan’s FamilyMart

Japan’s FamilyMart is going to great heights for promotion – in fact, as far as space.

The Japanese convenience store franchise is joining airline JAL as a sponsor for an artificial “shooting star” project that involves a satellite dropping pellets that will make a display as they burn up on re-entering the atmosphere.

It will be a world first produced by Ale, a company founded and run by former investment banker and mother-of-two Lena Okajima, who has a PhD in astronomy. A trial run of its satellite will likely be held in 2019 over the Setouchi (Seto Inland Sea) area of Hiroshima prefecture, reports Japan Today.

Its pellets will be designed to burn brighter and longer than natural shooting stars in a colour of the client’s choosing. The display, lasting between five and 10 seconds, will be visible within a 100km radius.

For its “Shooting Star Challenge”, a satellite will be placed in orbit about 500km above Australia. From there it will release pellets toward Japan. These will take about 15 minutes to fall to a height of 60km above Setouchi and begin to burn. This part of Hiroshima was chosen as the test site for its popularity, scenery and clear skies.

A single 60cm satellite is expected to hold up to 400 pellets, which it is hoped will last until the end of the craft’s year in orbit. As well as providing a pyrotechnic display, the project will also gather data on upper-atmosphere physics.


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