Space Flyer Unit
Space Flyer Unit photographed from Endeavour during STS-72 mission
Mission typeTechnology
COSPAR ID1995-011A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.23521
Mission duration10 months
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerMitsubishi Electric
Launch mass3,846 kilograms (8,479 lb)
Landing mass3,492 kilograms (7,699 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date18 March 1995, 08:01 (1995-03-18UTC08:01Z) UTC
RocketH-II 3F
Launch siteTanegashima Yoshinobu 1
End of mission
Recovered bySpace Shuttle Endeavour
Recovery date13 January 1996 (1996-01-14)
Landing date20 January 1996, 07:41:41 UTC
Landing siteKennedy SLF Runway 15
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth
Perigee altitude470 kilometres (290 mi)
Apogee altitude492 kilometres (306 mi)
Inclination28.4 degrees
Period94.22 minutes
Epoch17 April 1995[1]
Space Flyer Unit

The Space Flyer Unit (宇宙実験・観測フリーフライヤ, Uchū Jikken-Kansoku Free Flyer) was a spacecraft which was launched by Japan on March 18, 1995.[2]

Technical data

SFU exhibited in the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo.

The Space Flyer Unit was launched from Tanegashima Space Center from a H-II vehicle.[2] It carried testing materials and research data that held value to NASA. The crew of STS-72 aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour retrieved the satellite on January 20, 1996, 10 months after it was launched.[2] The idea behind the implementation of the SFU was a joint effort by multiple major corporations and government agencies. The ones that were involved with the launch were Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, the National Space Development Agency, and Ministry of International Trade and Industry.[3]

After the shuttle returned the SFU from space it was transported to Japan and refurbished for display at the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo.[4]


The original purposes behind the SFU were to[5]


A variety of systems that were operational within the SFU had never been implemented before. Equipment on board supported an infrared telescope, two-dimensional solar array, high voltage solar array, space plasma diagnosis, electric propulsion, material experimentation, gas dynamics, gradient heating chemicals, isothermal heating furnace and more.[6] The core system that was built into the SFU contained an octagonal aluminum truss. Inside of that were eight boxes of trapezoidal shape.[6] The SFU was connected directly to the Kagoshima Space Center.[7]

Experimentation data

There were a number of various types of experiments that were performed on board the SFU during its launch life cycle. Those experiments, and light data related to them are listed below.

See also


  1. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Satellite Catalog". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
  2. ^ a b c - Main Reference-Main Reference
  3. ^ Chronology Data Archived 2006-09-28 at the Wayback Machine-Chronology Data
  4. ^ "SFU : Space Flyer Unit". Archived from the original on 2016-08-01. Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  5. ^ Purposes Archived 2006-09-28 at the Wayback Machine-Purposes
  6. ^ a b Experiment Data 1 Archived 2006-09-28 at the Wayback Machine-Experiment Data 1
  7. ^ Experiment Data 2 Archived 2006-09-28 at the Wayback Machine-Experiment Data 2
  8. ^ Irts Data Archived 2005-11-27 at the Wayback Machine-IRTS Data
  9. ^ 2d array data-2d Array Data
  10. ^ hvsa data Archived 2005-11-25 at the Wayback Machine-hvsa data
  11. ^ Sdpd data Archived 2005-11-25 at the Wayback Machine-Sdpd data
  12. ^ epex data Archived 2005-11-25 at the Wayback Machine-epex data
  13. ^ mex Archived 2005-11-25 at the Wayback Machine-mex data
  14. ^ bio Archived 2005-11-25 at the Wayback Machine-Bio

Further reading