The Mobile Suit Gundam series may have conquered the skies in its fictional realities created for its different series, but it's also getting ready to overtake our orbit in 2020. JAXA, the Japanese version of our National Aeronautics and Space Administration, aka NASA, has decided to launch two Gundam models into space to celebrate next year's Summer Olympics that are being held in Tokyo.
"G-Satellite", which will be the equivalent of an electronic billboard in space, will house these the Gundam models: the original Gundam mech and the antagonist Char's "Zaku" suit. Once the satellite has entered Earth's orbit, it will release the two models, which are made from materials that can withstand the harsh environment of outer space, in assisting to display messages from Olympians and others for the world to see. Unfortunately, these models will be the size of the regular plastic models that can be purchased today, so don't expect realistically sized Gundams to be floating above us any time soon.
The G-Satellite, and the Gundams housed within, will be travelling at a speed of five miles per second, blowing away the speed of the mech suits in the anime for sure. Based on this speed, they'll be able to swing around the world in its entirety in around 90 minutes. The satellite itself will tentatively be launched in either March or April of 2020, and then, following the Olympic events, will be returned to Earth. Based on the popularity of the satellite, we may be able to see other Gundams launched into outer space in the near future.
JAXA worked in conjunction with Tokyo University's Graduate School of Engineering to get this project off the ground, both figuratively and literally. It just goes to show you how popular this series is in Japan that it is able to warrant its own satellite being launched during the Summer Olympics. With a life sized Gundam statue looming over residents in Japan and nearly 500 million Gundam plastic models, or "Gunplas", sold, who knows where these mech suits could appear next.
Mobile Suit Gundam is one of the most popular franchises in the world, and that popularity is only expected to grow as Sunrise continues to release new projects for the franchise. This includes new anime based in the original Universal Century storyline, which will next see a film trilogy based on the Hathaway's Flash novels, a returning anime for its SD Gundam spin-offs, and even a brand new live-action movie coming to the West co-produced by Legendary.
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