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JAXA President Monthly Regular Press Conference May 2013

Status Report From: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
Posted: Monday, June 24, 2013

image It has been one month since I assumed the JAXA president's post, and it has surely been a very busy month while I candidly feel that JAXA's splendid intellectual and national properties should become more widely available to people who are not necessarily related to the space field. Now, I really perceive that JAXA has graduated from the technological verification phase that has been a goal of JAXA's assignment in the last 10 years, and entered into the next phase as JAXA has successfully performed 19 consecutive launches of H-IIA and H-IIB launch vehicles combined.

That is also backed politically by the government's new "Basic Plan for Space Policy" and also by JAXA's new mid-term plan; therefore, I acknowledge that the technological backbone was confirmed and we can move to the next step. More specifically, new themes namely "safety, security and disaster preparation" and "industrial promotion" have been added whereas the "space science frontier" continuously remains an important theme. When I became president, I told you that I would like to make Japan's space development a more stoutly-framed one in many senses. In the last month, my feelings toward that belief have become much stronger.

Now, we are stepping to the new phase, but, unfortunately, we had an incident of unauthorized access to the JAXA information system on April 17, as we have reported to you previously. I recognize that it was a grave experience, thus we set up an "information security reinforcement team" led by the JAXA vice president to come up with measures within three months. We are further strengthening our organization under the assumption that not only is the cause investigation of the incident necessary, but also construction of a more fortified information security system. I would like to express my deep apology for causing concerns to the people of Japan through this incident.

TOPICS

I. Safety, security and disaster prevention
II. Industrial promotion
III. Space science frontier
IV. Education, promotion, and international cooperation

I. Safety, security and disaster prevention

(1) Global Change Observation Mission 1st - Water "SHIZUKU" (GCOM-W1) products release
The SHIZUKU launched on May 18 last year will soon celebrate its one-year anniversary. The mission has been operating smoothly without any anomalies and we are now preparing to provide various acquired data related to global water such as ocean surface temperature and water vapor volume as products for your use.

II. Industrial promotion

(1) Activity status of Program Promotion Office
As one of our activities used for "industrial promotion" indicated by the government's new Basic Plan for Space Policy, we established a new office called the "Program Promotion Office" on March 1. Since then, we have received a few requests to support new businesses including some from the private sector. I cannot clarify the details of the requests, but we would like to continue to expand the new office's activities.

(2) Aviation technology
The second phase of the Drop test for Simplified Evaluation of Non-symmetrically Distributed sonic boom (D-SEND#2), the flight demonstration of low sonic boom design technology, will be held in August at the Estrange Test Site (Kiruna, Sweden.) We will disclose the airplane-shape vehicle to be used for the D-SEND#2 (3D lifting vehicle) on May 30 (Thu.) at the Utsunomiya Plant of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (Utsunomiya city in Tochigi Prefecture.) * The revelation is for the press only.

Reference
Aviation program, D-SEND project

III. Space science frontier

(1) Manned space activity
In the last press conference, somebody asked how the experiment status of the Kibo, Japanese Experiment Module of the International Space Station, is understood. Thus I am reviewing and studying the status by myself again. The Kibo has been utilized 75 times, including the ones currently going on. As a breakdown, 66 experiments have been performed at the Pressurized Module, and the rest have been at the exposed area. Among them, 44 results have been publicly available. This number is not a lot yet, but I am aware that we have received many opinions on the achievements, thus I would like to review how to choose experiment themes and improve other points if necessary to make them better by incorporating those opinions.

(2) Experiment plan at the Taiki Aerospace Research Field
JAXA is performing the first balloon experiment of Fiscal Year 2013 between May 7 (Tue.) and June 23 (Sun.) at the Taiki Aerospace Research Field. During the last autumn experiment, we were not able to conduct all four scheduled experiments due to weather constraints. Therefore, this is the first experiment in almost a year.

We plan to hold a second balloon experiment between July 30 (Tue.) thru Sept. 22 (Sun.), and we will use the thinnest film for a balloon of 2.8 μm for a flight performance test of our ultra-thin-film high-altitude balloon. We will introduce this topic.

Reference
ISAS Balloon project website

IV. Education, promotion, and international cooperation

(1) Support message campaign for the next generation solid-fuel launch vehicle Epsilon
The Epsilon Support Message Campaign was completed on May 7 (Tue.), and thank you very much for your participation. We will announce the results of the campaign in late May. The first Epsilon launch vehicle is now smoothly under preparation for launch.

(2) Open-house event at the Tsukuba Space Center and Chofu Aerospace Center
JAXA holds an open-house event every year at our field centers. We held the event and received many visitors at the Tsukuba Space Center (TKSC, in Tsukuba-city, Ibaraki Prefecture) on April 20 (Sat.) and at the Chofu Aerospace Center (CAC in Chyofu-city, Tokyo) on April 21 (Sun.)
The event at the TKSC is always very popular, but this year, over 10,000 people visited us. I am delighted that more and more people can understand our activities through the event. At the CAC, about 7,000 people joined our event despite the rainy weather. I am very happy that many people are now highly interested in the aviation field.

(3) Future schedule
We will hold a Japan-Italy cooperative event "Japan and Italy: Space Cooperation Forefront" at the Instituto Italiano di Cultura (Chiyoda-ward, Tokyo) from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on May 15 (Wednesday). Japan and Italy share various common points in the space field including the International Space Station utilization, disaster monitoring and space science. In this event, Italy will introduce "our cooperative project for disaster monitoring using satellites" and Japan will exhibit "research and development of the Calorimetric Electron Telescope (CALET), a Japan-Italy collaborative project for the ISS."

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