A ROCKET carrying a satellite on a mission to deliver the world's artificial meteor shower blasted into space last Friday, Japanese scientists said.

A start-up based in Tokyo developed the micro-satellite for the celestial show over Hiroshima early next year as the initial experiment for what it calls a ''shooting stars on demand'' service.

The satellite is to release tiny balls that glow brightly as they hurtle through the atmosphere, simulating a meteor shower.

It hitched a ride on the small-size Epsilon-4 rocket that was launched from the Uchinoura space centre by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency [JAXA] on Friday morning.

The rocket carried a total of of seven ultra small satellites that will demonstrate various ''innovative''  technologies, JAXA apokesman Nobuyoshi Fujimoto told AFP.

By early afternoon, JAXA confirmed all seven satellites had successfully been launched into orbit.

''I was too moved for words,'' Lena Okajima, president of the company behind the artificial meteor showers, told the Jiji Press Agency.

''I felt like now the hard work  is ahead.''

The company  ALE Co Ltd plans to deliver its first  out-of-this-world show over Hiroshima in the spring of 2020.

The satellite launched  Friday carries 400 tiny balls whose chemical formula is a closely guarded secret.

That should be enough for  20-30 events, as one shower will involve up to 20 stars, according to the company. ALE's satellite, released 500 kilometres [310 miles]  above the earth, will gradually descend to  400-kilometres over the coming year as it orbits the Earth. [Agencies]


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