JAXA President Monthly Regular Press Conference June 2015

JAXA President Monthly Regular Press Conference

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

The "Open Innovation Hub for Expanding Humanosphere and Domain of Activity through Solar System Frontier Development" of JAXA was selected for the innovation hub construction support, an operation conducted by the Japan Science and Technology agency (JST).
The formation of the innovation hub is one of the important policies to achieve the "most suitable country for innovation in the world" status stipulated in the "Comprehensive Strategy on Science, Technology and Innovation 2014" (approved by the Cabinet on June 24, 2014). According to the strategy, JAXA started to work toward this goal in April.
Through this innovation hub, we will engage in R&D for sustainable exploration of planets with gravity, most notably the moon, and many players from various fields have already show their intention of participation in the space field. Especially in the U.S., many willing participants are from non-space fields; therefore, I feel that players in the space development area are gradually changing. JAXA also stipulates in our mid-term plan that we will construct a research system that is open to various human resources and intelligence from different areas to collect inputs together. In order to move forward to achieve the above plan with a specific agenda, we participated in the selection process conducted by the JST and were chosen.
JAXA conducted an organizational change on April 1 this year, and newly established the Space Exploration Innovation Hub Center directly under the JAXA president. The center has already started its activities, and it will further import intelligence and human resources from the private sector.
We also need to design some new systems including one to facilitate human resource exchanges along with the purpose of the government policy. More specifically, we will introduce a cross-appointment system, and organize a more user-friendly intellectual property policy for companies.

On the Kibo, the Japanese Experiment Module of the International Space Station (ISS), JAXA has been conducting the High Quality Protein Crystal Growth Experiment to acquire a three-dimensional structure of information that is useful for innovative drug research and development.
As we issued a press release on June10, JAXA acquired important knowledge through joint research with Iwate Medical University and some other groups to develop medicine for periodontal diseases.
From crystals obtained from the High Quality Protein Crystal Growth Experiment on the Kibo, we were able to clarify the detailed 3D structure of a peptide degradation enzyme, which is important to grow periodontal disease bacteria, for the first time in the world.
Crystals acquired on the ground were not good enough in quality to detect the detailed 3D structure, but the one obtained during the space experiment with high quality allowed us to clarify very small details of the enzyme's structure to specify the position of a potassium ion, which had previously not been seen. Let me explain the significance of this finding. Amino acid is a source of nutrients for periodontal disease bacteria, and the bacteria degrade of a peptide, a chain of many amino acids, to grow themselves by taking the nutrition of amino acids. Potassium ion plays an important role when an amino acid is taken into the degrading enzyme. If we can design a molecule that can substitute an amino acid to be connected to the degrading enzyme, that may lead to the development of medicine that suppresses the growth of periodontal diseases.
This is one of the examples to show the high quality of our protein crystal growth technology, and the basic research achievement to create new medicine.

On June 9 (Moscow time), the Russian Federal Space Agency (ROSCOSMOS) announced the revised launch schedule including the targeted launch date of the Soyuz spacecraft (43S/TMA-17M), which Astronaut Yui will be aboard. It says that the Soyuz 43S/TMA-17M launch is planned between July 23 and 25 (Moscow time).
The date and time will be officially decided after ISS partner countries, including Japan, confirm safety and other factors.

The H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 5 will launch the KOUNOTORI5 (HTV5, a cargo transporter to the International Space Station) at 10:01 p.m. on Aug. 16 (Sun.), 2015 (Japan Standard Time).
The KOUNOTORI5 will carry some large-size experiment instruments including the CALorimetric Electron Telescope (CALET), a caring apparatus for small animals, and part of the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace.
Those instruments will contribute to Japan's science and technology strategy and policy by acquiring space application technology, strengthening industrial competitiveness, and expanding and fully operating space utilization by the private sector.
The press day for revealing the KOUNOTORI5 is scheduled for July 1. We also are scheduled to hold an explanatory session of the KOUNOTORI operation, and to show operation training to the media. We will inform you of the schedule as soon as it is decided.

I will be on business trip to Europe between June 14 to 21, to take advantage of attending the Paris Air Show. I will meet the new head of the ROSCOSMOS thus I will confirm the flight safety as Astronaut Yui's trip to the ISS approaches.
In addition, I plan to meet with the NASA Administrator, ESA (European Space Agency) Director General, CNES (Cnetre National D'etudes SPatiales) President, and Head of UKSA (UK Space Agency).
So, I will have a meeting with the head of each agency one by one during the Paris Air Show, and, after that, I will stop by the UK to visit UKSA, the agency that practically operates the space business based on the UK space policy under the UK government, to have a look at its actual activities. I will also exchange opinions especially on how to utilize satellites to promote industries.

JAXA Symposium

We plan to hold the JAXA symposium on July 2 (Thu.) We will have it from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m., so that people with fulltime jobs can also participate. It will be held at Yurakucho Asahi Hall in Yuraku-cyo, Tokyo.
The theme of the symposium this year is “JAXA’s new challenge as the National Research and Development Agency”. As we became the National R&D Agency in April this year, we would like to appeal to a broader audience to show how to tackle the issue of optimizing our R&D results for all of Japan being an “open-minded JAXA”, and that is the government’s theme of establishing the National R&D Agency.

TKSC Space Dome renewal

The Space dome, an exhibition hall of the Tsukuba Space Center, is currently under renovation, and will be open again on June 23 (Tue.)