JAXA President Monthly Regular Press Conference April 2016

JAXA President Monthly Regular Press Conference

Date and time: From 11:00 - 11:30 a.m. on April 14 (Thu), 2016
Venue: JAXA Tokyo Office Presentation Room (B1 floor)
MC: Yoshikazu Shoji, JAXA Public Affairs Department Director

X-ray Astronomy Satellite “Hitomi” (ASTRO-H)

We have been informing you of the investigation status regarding the Hitomi’s condition. JAXA recognizes this situation as “very serious.” Hitomi was supposed to start calibration observations in mid April to be ready for full-scale observations. Unfortunately, an anomaly was found in Hitomi and we are now forced to change the observation plan drastically. Representing JAXA, I would like to express my deep regret to all people who have been supporting Hitomi and expecting its observation results, to those relevant and cooperative organizations including NASA, and to those domestic and overseas astronomy researchers who plan to use Hitomi’s observation data.
After the anomaly took place, under my leadership we have been investigating the cause and studying countermeasures through JAXA-wide efforts, not only by ISAS. While trying hard to recover the communication, we analyzed telemetry data, and conducted a simulation to understand the whole picture and satellite’s condition. We also asked for cooperation from domestic and overseas related organizations to provide observation data from the ground to understand the situation, and we actually received very useful data. I would like to send my sincere appreciation to those organizations. We hope for your continued cooperation.
As communication with Hitomi has been severed, we are investigating the cause with limited information. We keep working on estimating and finding the cause while studying the background reasons for this anomaly. We will explain the status of Hitomi at the committee for space development and application, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), on April 19. We will update you, the press, as soon as we find something new, as we always do.

Astronaut Wakata

Astronaut Wakata assumed the post of International Space Station Program manager of JAXA on April 1. He is working at the Tsukuba Space Center. I hold high expectations for him to exert his strong leadership to coordinate with domestic and overseas counterparts for the ISS.

Philippine satellite DIWATA-1 deployed

Some of you may have already heard about a small Philippine satellite, the 50-kg class DIWATA-1. On March 26 (Sat.) the satellite was launched by a Cygnus Spacecraft from the U.S., and is now stored at the ISS. The DIWATA-1 is scheduled to be deployed by the Kibo’s Small Satellite Orbital Deployer on April 27 (Wed.) This is the first attempt to deploy a 50-kg class satellite by the Japanese system. I heard that dignitaries of the Philippine Government and pertinent personnel of Tohoku and Hokkaido Universities will witness the deployment. I will inform you of the press coverage schedule for this event. Please join us.
I told you that the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) agreed to cooperate in providing opportunities to deploy cube satellites (CubeSats) from the Kibo. We have completed our public offering of this opportunity on March 31. UNOOSA told us that they accepted 13 proposals. We will proceed to the selection in cooperation with UNOOSA to decide the finalists by the summer.

Winning JFY 2016 MEXT science and technology award

Some JAXA programs received the JFY 2016 science and technology award from the Minister of MEXT. This news is released from MEXT on April 12 (Tue.) The following three programs are awardees.

Development of the next generation traffic system, Distributed and Revolutionary Efficient Air-traffic Management System (DREAMES) (Aeronautical Technology Directorate)
DAICHI-2’s high accuracy tectonic movement observation technology (Space Technology Directorate I)
Promoting technology for the Quasi-real time Global Satellite Mapping of Precipitation (GSMaP) (Space Technology Directorate I)