GUNDAM is a science fiction anime featuring giant robots with the name “Gundam”. The series launched in 1979 and told the story of a futuristic version of the world where space colonies and intergalactic wars are the norm. To win these wars, a desperate population turns to giant teenager-manned robots known as Gundam.
Next year, Gundam will actually be sent to space. Organizers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games announced plans to launch model robots Gundam and Char’s Zaku into space between March and April 2020 that will broadcast messages of support to athletes.
The project is conducted in collaboration with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the University of Tokyo. Two 10-centimerter models depicting Gundam and Char’s Zaku robots will be sent into orbit on a 30-cm long, 10-cm wide micro satellite. The “G Satellite,” with an electronic bulletin board for displaying messages, will be sent to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a supply ship next March and later launched from the ISS. After the satellite enters Earth orbit, it will deploy the bulletin board and model robots, capturing images of them with its onboard camera. The organizers will share the images, including congratulatory messages to athletes in multiple languages, through social media and other outlets.
Both Gunpla models (plastic Gundam models) are outfitted with special paint and materials that can withstand the harsh conditions of space. A message board will display greeting near the foot of the Gundam and its eyes will cycle through the five Olympic colors. The satellite will house seven cameras to capture footage of the Gunpla in action.
Their journey will be a short one, as they’ll only be orbiting around Earth until they’re brought back down sometime before the ceremonies are over.