JAXA President Monthly Regular Press Conference May 2015

JAXA President Monthly Regular Press Conference

Date and time: From 11:00 - 11:45 a.m. on May 14 (Thu.), 2015
Venue: JAXA Tokyo Office Presentation Room (B1 floor)
MC: Shigeki Kamigaichi, JAXA Public Affairs Department Director

Astronaut Yui's space trip on the Soyuz Spacecraft (43S/TMA-17M) was postponed. The new launch schedule is currently targeted for the latter part of July after conducting a failure cause investigation of the Progress Spacecraft (59P) and taking countermeasures. The launch date will be ultimately determined through international coordination. We will inform you of the launch date as soon as it is determined.
JAXA will further strengthen information sharing with the Russian Federal Space Agency (ROSCOSMOS) and NASA to be well prepared for Astronaut Yui's long stay at the International Space Station (ISS) as well as for steady operation of the ISS so that we can ensure a safe launch.

JAXA performed emergency observations since immediately after the earthquake in Nepal on April 25 (local time) using the L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar-2 (PALSAR-2) aboard the Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 "DAICHI-2" (ALOS-2) according to a request from Sentinel Asia, the International Charter Space and Major Disaster, the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan (GSI), and other related parties.
The observed information was provided to Nepali local agencies through the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), whose headquarters are located in Kathmandu, and was also offered to the Japanese Red Cross Society Emergency Response Unite, who entered the disaster-hit areas, in order to be utilized for support activities at the areas. The GSI also analyzed diastrophism in and around Nepal using DAICHI-2's data, and observed a large-scale diastrophism in Kathmandu and surrounding areas. Those analysis results are published on the GSI website.

JAXA also conducted emergency observations of volcanic activities at Mt. Hakone, which are still continuing, using the PALSAR-2 of the DAICHI-2 following an official request from the earthquake prediction working group of the GSI. The GSI performed interference analysis using the observation data, and published that up to 6-centimeter land upheaval was observed in a narrow scope of 200 meters in diameter in Owaku-dani Valley, which is currently off-limits.
I heard that the DAICHI-2's observation data this time was used for deciding the off-limits area, and it is one of the good examples that satellite data is imperative information to make such an important decision.
The DAICHI-2 data is better suited for precisely observing an upheaval of the land surface as its L-band wave length penetrates vegetation to capture diastrophism clearer. In addition, the DAICHI-2's orbit is autonomously controlled to accurately stay in a tracking range of 500 meters in radius, which is a prerequisite for interference analysis. The above advantages of the DAICHI-2 enabled us to observe land rising in units of a few centimeters, and, as a result, the obtained data was useful for making administrative decisions.