JAXA President Monthly Regular Press Conference July 2016

JAXA President Monthly Regular Press Conference

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

Activities of Astronaut Onishi

As you may already know, on July 9th, Astronaut Onishi safely arrived at International Space Station (ISS) and began his long-term stay. He has since then played an active role on the ISS, and I am very glad that he is doing well. I am also very thankful that the media covered both the launch and the opening of the hatch many times.

You may have read about Astronaut Onishi’s activities via his Google+ already. I know that I look forward to his continued personal reports on the details and significance of his activities. In fact, there will be a press conference for twenty minutes with Astronaut Onishi via phone on the night of the 19th. I hear that we already decided on a specific time that works for him. I hope this will be a very useful opportunity.

For a long time, JAXA has been working hard to spread our astronaut’s activities, and the significance of said activities, to the Japanese people. Right now, we ask not only mainstream media, but the general public to share our astronaut’s activities. To this end, we have already planned several events. Soon, [mobile messaging application] LINE will conduct an event on July 7. Another communication event will occur on August 16th, hosted by [Japanese soccer team] Kawasaki Frontale.

I heard that via LINE, about 390 thousand people followed the livestream of the launch, and about 480 thousand people followed the livestream of the opening of the hatch. I am very glad, as these events encourage more people to understand the astronaut’s activities.

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the founding of their club, Kawasaki Frontale is collaborating with Kawasaki city and JAXA to promote topics such as space education via a collaboration with “Space Brothers,” a popular manga. I am grateful that the club and its leading athletes are spreading topics regarding Astronaut Onishi.

Applying Space Safety to Safety in Medical Practices

Safety management in manned space activities is very strict. Via JAXA Astronaut Mukai’s suggestion, we have held discussions on how to apply JAXA’s safety management and way of thinking for manned space activities to life on Earth. In a collaboration with the University of Tsukuba, the safety management methods used for the ISS’s manned space activities have been applied to safety management in the Tsukuba University hospital. In this project, the focus was developing preventative measures to counteract falling. From what we heard, there are about 400 cases a year of people who end up seeking medical attention because they fall on the ground or down the stairs. Such cases are considered to be very serious. The University worked on prevention, but the results were minimal. To fix this issue, we presented a more effective preventative measure. When patients age and falling accidents become more common, the impact on their bodies is very serious, and it correlates with a lower quality of life and longer hospitalization, the later of which results in more expensive medical fees. The countermeasure we developed is an example of our social impact, and I hope that our knowledge and experience will be useful to society in one way or another. On July 23, we will hold a symposium with the University of Tsukuba at its Tokyo campus in Myougadani. If you are interested, please join us.

H3’s Development Status

As we are currently reporting, the basic design phase of the H3 is now complete, and it has entered the detailed design phase. We will hold a press conference on July 20 to present its development status in further detail.

Progress Report for GEOTAIL (Earth’s Magnetosphere Observation Satellite)

GEOTAIL (Earth’s Magnetosphere Observation Satellite), launched in 1992, continues to observe earth’s magnetosphere as it was originally intended. It has now been in operation for 24 years, and is a collaborative project between Japan and the United States.

In 2015, NASA launched their Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) Mission spacecraft. This spacecraft has very high time resolution, and can capture change very accurately, so we have gained valuable results from MMS working in tandem with GEOTAIL regarding changes in the Earth’s magnetic field. To discuss the data collected by these crafts in further detail, we will hold a press conference on July 20.

Similarly, another satellite for observing the magnetosphere, the Geospace Exploration Satellite (ERG), will launch during this fiscal year. With the combined observation power of these three spacecraft, we expect to gain a deeper understanding of the magnetosphere that surrounds Earth.

Supporting Space Industries

Interstellar Technologies, Inc. is currently developing a small-scale launch vehicle in Japan, and JAXA agreed to act as a consultant for the project. Interstellar Technologies, Inc. is planning on sending their launch vehicles into low earth orbit, and inquired into our insight on engines and test facilities. We are willing to actively support them in this project. Although they will consult us for only three months, we expect that our experience will be useful in the development of their launch vehicle.

JAXA Symposium 2016

This has already been covered by the press, but we will hold our annual JAXA Symposium on July 28th at Yakult Hall in Shimbashi. Last year, we became a national research and development agency, and through our new slogan since 2015, “Open JAXA,” we will reflect on our initiatives of the past year and think towards the future.

This year, the theme we will explore is “Innovation Hub*”. Initiated by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) at the same time that JAXA became a national research and development agency, this is a theme that aims to promote innovation on the ground. JAXA was chosen by JST as one of the agencies to pursue the theme. Accordingly, we established the Space Exploration Innovation Hub Center at JAXA’s Sagamihara Campus to gather specialists and knowledge from various fields and create new research teams for new projects. At the symposium, we will hold a panel discussion regarding this topic. We hope that by collecting the variety of views of both participants and observers of the panel, we will be able to foster a better Innovation Hub. We look forward to your participation.

In Japanese, the term 'hub' refers to the abstract concept of centralizing the collection of ideas, instead of the actual physical manifestation of such an activity.