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November 2nd, 2016

Kids' Spirits Sent Soaring With Satellite... Japan's Himawari-9 Weather Satellite Launches

Japan’s H-2A rocket, carrying a Himawari-9 weather satellite, is launched at the Tanegashima Space Center in Tanegashima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture on November 2, 2016 decked out in colourful manga in a bid to raise awareness among kids about the wonders of the universe. Agence-France-Presse AFP PHOTO

Why not? You are sending a satellite up that will provide information about the weather and the wonders of the universe, so why not get everyone involved in this positive mission including the kids—and that's what this Japanese rocket reveals decorated with its colorful artwork. 

A Japanese rocket that fired a weather satellite into space on Wednesday was decked out in colorful manga in a bid to raise awareness among kids about the wonders of the universe.

The H-IIA rocket carrying the Himawari-9 weather satellite blasted into a cloudy sky at the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Kagoshima prefecture at 3:20 pm (0620 GMT).

Japan’s domestically developed mainstay rocket carried two pieces of manga artwork originally drawn by Chuya Koyama, known for his comic book on two brothers who dream about becoming astronauts.

A Japanese rocket is decked out in manga to raise awareness among kids about space

“We believe it’s the first time in the world to launch a rocket with manga art on it,” said Hirokazu Kosada of Young Astronauts Club Japan, the foundation that organized the rocket art project.

The artworks were created by using 30,000 digital images of photographs and paintings sent by children across Japan, according to Kosada.

One of the manga, which in total measures three-meters (nine-feet) tall and occupies the upper part of the 53-meter long rocket, depicted 12 jumping children.

“We wanted children in Japan to be interested in space and the weather,” Kosada told Agence France-Presse.

Japan has a massive space program and the country has achieved successes in both scientific and commercial satellite launches. It has sent astronauts on space shuttle and International Space Station missions.