Do you have any aspiring astronauts, astronomers, aeronauts, or cosmologists in the house? If so, you’ve just stumbled upon the perfect birthday gift for said person.

For only 500 yen (US$4.05), you can now purchase legitimate fragments of a Japan-launched rocket being sold under the moniker uchuu gacha (“space capsules”). In fact, it’s such a good deal that we just had to buy one for ourselves!

We regret to inform you that the rocket fragment is not taken from RocketNews24’s own namesake rocket (give us time…). However, it’s without a doubt the next best thing–an actual piece of the H-IIB (pronounced H2B) Vehicle No. 3, launched on July 21, 2012 from Tanegashima, an island located in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan.

▼ Yeah, that’s the one!

1YouTube (spcsft)

The fragment, which is being sold on Village Vanguard‘s online shop for only 500 yen ($4.05), is more specifically a piece of the payload fairing, a sort of nose cone used to protect a spacecraft during its launch through the earth’s atmosphere. It detaches once the craft reaches an altitude of over 100 kilometers (62 miles) above sea level, which is known as the Kármán line–a measurement generally accepted to represent the boundary between the earth’s atmosphere and outer space.

▼ This part is the fairing.

2YouTube (spcsft)

The fairing piece is made of aluminum alloy and comes encased in a plastic capsule (the “gacha”). Perhaps most exciting, it’s matched with a certificate of authenticity and serial number verified by JAXA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. We suppose you can frame it and find a nice little spot on the wall in your bathroom to hang it from and impress any guests that drop by, from outer space or otherwise.

▼ Here’s a look at all of the capsule’s contents.

3Village Vanguard

▼ You can also watch an advertisement for the uchuu gacha, complete with a short clip of the rocket’s launch in 2012.

As previously mentioned, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on such a superb specimen of science, especially for such a bargain. Upon finally receiving it, one of our Japanese reporters filmed himself removing the fragment from its protective sleeve. He immediately discovered how flimsy the aluminum alloy was, and couldn’t seem to get over its lightness.

Check out the short clip for yourself, as well as some additional pictures below.

▼ Yay, we’re now the proud owners of a rocket fragment!



▼ JAXA’s certificate of authenticity was much smaller than we had predicted.


▼ The fragment’s diameter was only 70 millimeters (2.76 inches).










Head over to Village Vanguard‘s online shop to purchase your own piece of H-IIB (pronounced H2B) Vehicle No. 3’s fairing. It certainly makes for a unique keepsake gift!

Sources: ITmedia Inc., Village Vanguard 
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