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Thursday, 27th March 2008
In General Japan News,

Japan to launch origami space plane

Officials in Japan have approved plans to launch an origami aeroplane from space, it has emerged.

Approved by Japan's aerospace exploration agency, the paper plane is to be launched from the International Space Station, from where it is hoped it will travel to earth as it will be drawn to the planet by the effects of gravity.

Confirmation of the approval was made by Hidehiro Akashi, a representative of the agency, reports AFP.

The term origami, quite literally, means folding paper and is derived from the Japanese words 'ori' and 'kami'."

"The biggest problem is that we cannot predict where the plane will touch down if it manages to return. That's because the plane will be blown away by wind after entering the troposphere," said Shinji Suzuki, a professor at the department of aeronautics and astronautics at the University of Tokyo.

And although Professor Suzuki confirmed that plans are being considered for the attachment of a transmitter to the plane, he noted that increasing the weight of the craft will have a detrimental effect.

It is hoped that the project will provide information that will prove useful in the future design of spacecrafts.