JAXA President Monthly Press Conference January 2017

JAXA President Monthly Press Conference

Speech Abstracts by Naoki Okumura, President of JAXA
Date and time: From 1:30 - 2:15 p.m. on January 13 (Fri), 2017
Venue: JAXA Tokyo Office Presentation Room (B1 floor)
MC: Yoshikazu Shoji, Director, Public Affairs Department

New Year's Resolutions

JAXA sends the new year's greetings to all.
JAXA had been scheduling SS-520 No. 4 launch but decided to postpone due to the weather. At this moment the re-try will be done no sooner than January 15, 2017. The rescheduling will be finalized after careful examination of the weather and JAXA will inform the decision. JAXA's launch schedule in Japanese fiscal years 2016 and 2017 is, launches of GCOM-C, Global Change Observation Mission-Climate, SLATS, Super Low Altitude Test Satellite aboard H-IIA rocket, and ASNARO-2, the second Advanced Satellite with New System Architecture for Observation aboard Enhanced Epsilon.
GCOM-C is designed to do thorough research on phenomena that affect climate change, or more specifically, it provides imagery of Asian Dust, yellow dust from China, and the marine environment. SLATS' proximity to Earth, its strength, provides high resolution views. Preparation is underway for long term stay of JAXA's astronaut Norishige Kanai aboard the International Space Station in autumn. Hopes are high that he will send home exciting data. Farther down the road, JAXA will come into the last fiscal year of its third 5-year Middle Term Plan. Finalizing respective projects for this term and laying out new plans are our agenda for the fiscal 2017. JAXA needs to make plans that reflect the changing circumstances around the international field of space exploration. Late last year, the Japanese Diet approved "The 2 Space Acts", The new Space Activities Act and The Satellite Remote-Sensing Act. The enactment paves the way for private participation in the space industry. Demands increase on JAXA, the national research institute, to lead the intervention. JAXA is resolved to see that the new plans will meet the demands.
In my belief, JAXA's identity, put simply, lies in generation of innovation to be presented to the government and implementation of missions that pioneer the international frontier. That requires bringing unknown technology to the table and finding fresh users. If the government is convinced of JAXA's inspirational space technology, funds will be allocated to give shape to our ideas. Japanese Basic Space Law defines JAXA as core organization that provides technical support for the entire governmental development and utilization of space projects. It is my determination to ensure that our upcoming plans will fully equip JAXA as such.

The Fiscal Year 2017 Budget

The Japanese Cabinet has approved a budget for the next fiscal year. The draft allocations for JAXA total ¥ 153.7 billion, almost the same size as the last fiscal year. Here, I would like to break it down.
One is for development of H3 launch vehicle, a ¥ 19.1 billion section, a huge increase from the last year's budget. H3, to launch in the fiscal 2020, is in full progress this fiscal year. At JAXA's Kakuda Space Center, unit tests of turbopump have started of H3's new large liquid engine called LE-9. Test results will be used to complete the turbopump, LE-9's essential component. Provided the turbopump is tested on time, JAXA will run LE-9 fire testings starting around March 2017 at the Tanegashima Space Center. Multiple test firing is scheduled and some sessions will be open to the media. Details will be informed.
Another, ¥ 2.3 billion is added for the X-ray Astronomy Satellite, replacement of ASTRO-H. I am leading the reform within JAXA so as not to repeat the same type of accident. Specific plans for the project have taken shape. JAXA is proceeding the project as the last time in cooperation with other foreign space organizations. Preparation is underway for its launch in the fiscal 2020.
Still another, ¥ 800 million is reckoned with the cost of development of a next generation engineering test satellite. In the last supplementary budget, ¥ 700 million was authorized. The operational budget will be the total of the ¥ 700 million, combined with JAXA's ¥ 800 million request if the Diet passes it. The completed engineering test satellite, stipulated in Japanese Basic Space Law, equipped with next generation telecommunication and broadcasting capacities will greatly benefit the private market.
Let me describe it in detail. Japanese Ministries of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and of Internal Affairs and Communications act as lead manager. JAXA and NICT, National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, administered by Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications serve as administrator. Process of the project is unique- from the very beginning of its development, JAXA welcomes private intervention, interplaying designs of some of the principal features. Private partner is given a latitude as to how to model them to best promote its business, with future operation in mind. After the H3 project with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. JAXA tries this partnership approach for the second time. I believe private involvement will raise the international competitiveness of Japanese space industry.
Challenges pertaining to the test engineering satellite are that the weight increase incurred by its expectedly mass communication demands high power and more communication capacity by far. Reduction of less important components to the extent possible, on top of the desired augmentation, seems to favor the electrically propelled system, internationally more common propellant, rather than the conventional chemical counterpart. The test satellite is now in its pre-project state, one step before project. JAXA is aiming at initiation of the project to realize the satellite's fiscal 2021 release by H3 launch vehicle.

Updates on ARASE

JAXA's satellite ERG, Exploration of energization and Radiation in Geospace, later renamed ARASE, injected into its orbit on December 20 last year, is in good condition. Following extension of its wire antennae and masts, ARASE's critical operations phase will come to a closure. The satellite then will enter into its 2-month commissioning phase, which will last until the end of March.
Again, I would like to express my gratitude for a huge turnout at ARASE launch aboard Epsilon at the Uchinoura Space Center.

JAXA's Astronaut Chiaki Mukai to Become Chair of COPUOS Scientific and Technical Subcommittee

In 2013 and 2014, JAXA has the proud history of sending Dr. Yasushi Horikawa, JAXA Technical Counsellor, to become Chairman of the United Nation COPUOS, the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. Dr. Chiaki Mukai, JAXA Technical Counsellor,, has been appointed as Chair of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee, one of COPUOS' two subcommittees. COPUOS Scientific and Technical Subcommittee, to be held in Vienna on January 30 through February 10, will address the global community's attempts to reduce space debris, to realize the long-term sustainability of outer space activities and the SDGs, Sustainable Development Goals. Expectation mounts for Dr. Mukai, who will be the first female astronaut to assume this position.

The 30th Anniversary Symposium of JAXA's Earth Observation

This year marks JAXA's 30th anniversary of its Earth observation history, which took off on February 19, 1987 with MOS-1, Japan's first marine observation satellite. MOS-1 was built with sensors that detect microwave radiation, visible near-infrared, and thermal infrared. The advanced types of those sensors are the onboard instruments of the Earth observation satellites now in operation.
To celebrate the 30th anniversary, JAXA will hold a public discussion on the past and the future of Earth observation satellites at Ochanomizu Sola City on February 13. Participation would be cordially welcomed.

SafeAvio Project

JAXA leads several collaborative, partly privately funded R & D projects, among which is SafeAvio, onboard safety avionics technology to prevent turbulence-induced aircraft accidents. SafeAvio is expected to ensure and improve air safety. Turbulence is one of the top accident causes for commercial jets, accounting for almost half of all accidents. Improves to fine tune weather radar are being made to help forecast turbulence. Particularly challenging is, however, to predict clear air turbulence, unaccompanied by rain clouds.
If accurately foreseeing turbulence is possible, preventive measures can be taken- an aircraft in midflight can slightly change its course to fly around it, and passengers can be warned of bumpy ride ahead by the seatbelt sign turned on. JAXA's Aeronautical Technology Directorate has spearheaded the unprecedented task of producing Doppler LIDAR system, light detection and ranging. As a result of continuous reduction in size and weight, the system can now be onboard an airplane. On January 14, JAXA will start flight demonstration of the Doppler LIDAR system aboard aircraft above Nagoya Airport.
For years, JAXA, in cooperation with The Boeing company, has done studies on the system. SafeAvio is of great interest to several airplane manufacturers and airlines. JAXA hopes the test flight will bring positive results.