Satellites and Spacecraft Topics

Topics List

Mar. 29, 2017 Updated
Arase off to Science Operations Phase

JAXA confirmed completion of the commissioning phase of ARASE, formerly known as ERG, Exploration of energization and Radiation in Geospace. ARASE has entered its science operations phase. The call was made as the following procedure took place as scheduled and was confirmed; the satellite post launch orbital systems are in place, their functions are determined as fine, all monitoring instruments are installed, and the motions of the monitoring equipment are checked.
ARASE is in good condition, with all its onboard apparatus for science observations performing well since activated.

Arase off to Science Operations Phase

Mar. 3, 2017 Updated
Two cameras on Akatsuki pause observations

JAXA decides that two of five cameras on-board Akatsuki (1-μm and 2-μm cameras) pause scientific observations. Other cameras (longwave-infrared camera, ultraviolet imager, and lightening and airglow camera) continue normal operation.
Although scientific observations by IR1 and IR2 are paused, JAXA continues investigation of possible recovery of two cameras. Attempts of switching ON these cameras will regularly be made with hope.
Figure: A localized vortex near the cloud base as imaged with IR2. Although similar vortices are seen in the earth atmosphere, this is seen for the first time in Venus' atmosphere.

Two cameras on Akatsuki pause observations

Feb. 22, 2017 Updated
QZS-1 off to the Cabinet Office's Control

On February 28, 2017, JAXA discontinues the operation of QZS-1, the First Quasi-Zenith Satellite MICHIBIKI. Control will be transferred to the Cabinet Office. For details, please refer to:

QZS-1 off to the Cabinet Office's Control

Feb. 21, 2017 Updated
GCOM-W: Sea Ice Hits Record Low

Global sea ice extent hit record low, according to observations from Shizuku on Global Change Observation Mission on January 14, 2017. It is all time low in the history of satellite operation that started in 1978, JAXA continues operation of Shizuku and GCOM-C and monitoring arctic sea ice extent, off the coast of Greenland Sea and the rest of the arctic circle.
Related information is also available at the following links:

GCOM-W: Sea Ice Hits Record Low

Jan. 25, 2017 Updated
HISAKI, to Prove Solar Wind’s Influence on the Inner Magnetosphere of Jupiter

HISAKI, JAXA’S Spectroscopic Planet Observatory for Recognition of Interaction of Atmosphere presents the monitoring data that show solar wind influences Jupiter's inner magnetosphere, the most powerful in the solar system. The finding contradicts the previous hypothesis that solar wind influence on the planet’s inner part is negligible, since its magnetosphere is huge and is rotationally dominated. Research on the response of Jupiter's inner magnetosphere to solar wind requires long, continuous monitoring, just the type of observation HISAKI makes. Its one month long spectroscopic observation on Jupiter updates the theory.
To unveil the process of this new discovery, preparation is underway by HISAKI research team and oversees researchers for simultaneous and on-site monitoring by HISAKI and NASA’s JUNO spacecraft.
The research finding was published in Geophysical Research Letters on December 20, 2016.

HISAKI, to Prove Solar Wind’s Influence on the Inner Magnetosphere of Jupiter

Jan. 23, 2017 Updated
Arase critical operation phase successfully completed!

JAXA confirmed completion of the critical operations phase of Arase (ERG), Exploration of energization and Radiation in Geospace. It results from a sequence of significant tasks that occurred as anticipated: perigee up maneuvers and extension of its wire antennae and masts.
Arase is currently in good condition and is scheduled to enter into a two-month commissioning phase, then followed by a science operations phase.

Arase critical operation phase successfully completed!

Jan. 17, 2017 Updated
Finding the cause of a bow-shaped feature on Venus

In December 2015, the longwave-infrared (LIR) camera mounted on the Venus Climate Orbiter "Akatsuki" discovered a bow-shaped feature stretching about 10,000 km in a north-south direction. This pattern remained in nearly the same place over the observation period of four days, without being affected by the easterly wind (super-rotation) in the Venus atmosphere. Examination using numerical simulations suggested that turbulence in the lower atmosphere generates waves that propagate through the atmosphere. The waves propagate north and south through the sky, creating a bow-like temperature distribution passing through the upper end of clouds at an altitude of about 65 km. This study showed that the state of Venus' lower atmosphere can be inferred from observations of its cloud tops.
This research result was published on 17 January 2017 in the online edition of the UK scientific journal Nature Geoscience.

Finding the cause of a bow-shaped feature on Venus

Jan. 15, 2017 Updated
SS-520 No. 4 Launch Results

At 8:33 a.m., (Japan Standard Time) January 15, 2017, SS-520 No. 4, JAXA's sounding rocket launched from the Uchinoura Space Center. Through SS-520 No. 4 launch, JAXA sought for research and development of launch vehicles and satellites and the launch demonstration of TRICOM-1, its onboard nanosat that weighs about 3 kilograms. The launch was part of Japanese government's program for development of launch vehicles and satellites in public-private partnerships.

The first stage flight of SS-520 No. 4 proceeded according to schedule. Thereafter, however, ground teams could not receive telemetry from the launch vehicle and the call was made to abort the second stage ignition.
JAXA tracked the launch vehicle and confirmed that it fell into the south eastern ocean off the Uchinoura Space Center, within the projected drop area.

SS-520 No. 4 Launch Results

Jan. 11, 2017 Updated
Completion of KIKU No. 8 Operation

At 3:25 p.m., (Japan Standard Time) January 10, 2017, JAXA terminated its Engineering Test Satellite-VIII KIKU No.8 (ETS-III) transmission, thus brought a closure to the satellite’s operation.
KIKU No. 8 was built for demonstration and experiment, with the purpose of improvement of mobile communications system. When Japan earthquake and tsunami of 2011 broke out, the satellite did the much needed service of providing the internet access for the afflicted region.
Launched on December 18, 2006, KIKU No. 8 marked its 3-year mission period and on December 18, 2016, completed its 10-year design life. The satellite’s fuel ran low that controlled its attitude and orbit after the decade long operation. In addition, an outdated satellite lying in space can undermine the operation of others. Therefore JAXA made a call to discontinue using the probe. KIKU No. 8 was thrown out of its stationary orbit and ceased to function.

Completion of KIKU No. 8 Operation

Dec. 20, 2016 Updated
Success of Epsilon-2 Launch with ERG Aboard

JAXA successfully launched the second Epsilon Launch Vehicle with Exploration of energization and Radiation in Geospace (ERG) aboard at 8:00 p.m. on December 20, 2016 (JST) from the Uchinoura Space Center. The launch vehicle flew as planned, and at approximately 13 minutes and 27 seconds after liftoff, the separation of ERG was confirmed.

The signals were received in the Santiago Ground Station, the Republic of Chile at 8:37 p.m. (JST). ERG's solar array paddles have been deployed as planned. Also, ERG has completed the attitude control based on the sun acquisition.
JAXA has nicknamed ERG "ARASE".

Success of Epsilon-2 Launch with ERG Aboard

Dec. 19, 2016 Updated
Epsilon-2/ERG launch time decided! Live broadcast from 7:40 p.m. on December 20 (Tue.)

The launch time of the second Epsilon Launch Vehicle with Exploration of energization and Radiation in Geospace (ERG) was set for 8:00:00 on December 20 (Tue.), 2016 (Japan Standard Time).
JAXA will broadcast a live launch report from the Uchinoura Space Center from 7:40 p.m. on the day. You can watch it through the Internet. Please have a look!

Epsilon-2/ERG launch time decided! Live broadcast from 7:40 p.m. on December 20 (Tue.)

Nov. 15, 2016 Updated
The Launch date of the Epsilon-2 with the ERG satellite on board- December 20

JAXA announced that the second Epsilon Launch Vehicle with Exploration of energization and Radiation in Geospace (ERG) on board will be launched sometime between 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on December 20, 2016 (Japan Standard Time). Live launch coverage from the Uchinoura Space Center will be carried on YouTube. More detail will be available shortly.
JAXA is happy to hear from dear readers. Please send words of encouragement to the project members of the Epsilon and of the ERG mission.

The Launch date of the Epsilon-2 with the ERG satellite on board- December 20

Oct. 27, 2016 Updated
Whole-atmospheric Monthly CO2 Concentration Tops 400 ppm based on IBUKI observation

The Ministry of Environment, National Institute of Environmental Studies and JAXA monitor CO2 level by JAXA's Greenhouse gases Observing SATellite IBUKI (GOSAT). The Provisional analysis was done of IBUKI's observational data obtained until May 2016. The results show that the global atmospheric monthly mean CO2 concentration observed vertically through the whole atmosphere exceeded 400 ppm for the first time in February 2016. In addition, the monthly CO2 concentration, after hitting the 400 ppm mark in December 2015, reached the unprecedented level of 402.3 ppm in December 2015. It is the highest record since GOSAT was launched in 2009.

JAXA will report the data at the official side events at COP22, to be held in Marrakesh, Morocco, from November 7 to 18, 2016.
The observation data is regularly made available to the public.

Whole-atmospheric Monthly CO2 Concentration Tops 400 ppm based on IBUKI observation

Oct. 24, 2016 Updated
"ERG" Put on View to Media

On October 20, "ERG", the Exploration of energization and Radiation in Geospace was shown to the media in the Uchinoura Space Center, Kimotsuki-cho, Kimotsuki-gun, Kagoshima.

Image: "ERG" in clean room of the M rocket launch site
In the Telemeter Center on the premises, Project Manager Iku Shinohara and Project Scientist Yoshizumi Miyoshi addressed the general facts of "ERG" and the scientific contributions that "ERG" is expected to make. Enhanced Epsilon will carry "ERG" on board. Preparation for launch is underway.

"ERG" Put on View to Media

Sep. 30, 2016 Updated
Geospace satellite "ERG" released to the media

On September 29 (Thu.), the Exploration of energization and Radiation in Geospace "ERG" made its appearance to the press at the Sagamihara Campus.
The ERG satellite carries nine cutting-edge instruments as well as hope of many to discover the mystery of the Van Allen belts. The geo probe is scheduled to be launched by the Epsilon launch vehicle from Uchinoura Space Center in JFY2016.

Geospace satellite "ERG" released to the media

Sep. 26, 2016 Updated
Full release of the SELENE (KAGUYA) High Definition Television (HDTV) data

All the data taken by the high definition television (HDTV) onboard the SELENE (KAGUYA) lunar orbiter have been released. The SELENE HDTV, developed in cooperation with JAXA and NHK, captured the full HD images all around the Moon. The raw data, extracted right from more than 600 HD images that the SELENE HDTV acquired over the period of 21 months, are now available as they are of high scientific value.
Image: The "earth-set" above the South Pole, where a number of countries are considering to build their base for lunar exploration. (C)NHK/JAXA

Full release of the SELENE (KAGUYA) High Definition Television (HDTV) data

Sep. 7, 2016 Updated
Submicrometer craters in samples returned from the asteroid Itokawa

It is previously reported that precious few Itokawa particles show submicrometer craters on their surface. An international research team led by Dr. Dennis Harries (Friedrich Schiller University Jena) has investigated these craters in details using scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. As a result of their observations, 15 craters were confirmed on a new particle. Though particles showing such craters had also been found in previous studies, those particles showed only 1-2 craters on their surface. Thus, the new particle found by the research team shows unusual number of craters on the surface of one particle.
Also, the research team found that the crater was secondary craters formed by fragments produced by the impact process of a tiny celestial body on the surface of asteroid Itokawa.

Submicrometer craters in samples returned from the asteroid Itokawa

Aug. 12, 2016 Updated
AJISAI marked 30th anniversary on Aug. 13, 2016, and its operation still continues

The Experimental Geodetic Satellite "AJISAI" (EGS)" was launched at 5:45 a.m. on Aug 13, 1986 (JST) from the Tanegashima Space Center and it was put into a circular orbit at an altitude of 1,500 km by the maiden H-I Launch Vehicle.
AJISAI is the first Japanese geometric satellite, and its major missions are rectifying Japan's domestic geodetic triangular net -- determining the exact position of many isolated Japanese islands and establishing Japan's geodetic point of origin. AJISAI is a ball-shaped satellite, 2.15 meters in diameter and weighing about 685 kilograms. Its surface is covered with 1,486 prisms and 318 reflectors. Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR) stations around the world are observing AJISAI using laser pulse. The SLR system at JAXA’s Masuda Tracking and Communications Station also keeps monitoring AJISAI. Researchers around the world highly evaluate the 30-year long operation and precious observation data of AJISAI.

AJISAI marked 30th anniversary on Aug. 13, 2016, and its operation still continues

Jul. 29, 2016 Updated
Happy Birthday, Akatsuki!

On July 19, Akatsuki celebrated 1st Venus's year anniversary (a year on Venus is 225 Earth days). Akatsuki keeps working well and continues to gather lots of data. The four cameras aboard the Venus Climate Orbiter "Akatsuki" keep sending down images.

Happy Birthday, Akatsuki!

Jul. 22, 2016 Updated
The Magnetosphere Has a Large Intake of Solar Wind Energy

Solar wind forms the energy source for aurora explosions. How does the Earth’s magnetosphere take in the energy of the solar wind? An international team led by Hiroshi Hasegawa and Naritoshi Kitamura (ISAS/JAXA) analyzed data taken by the US-Japan collaborative mission GEOTAIL and NASA’s MMS satellites and revealed that the interaction between the magnetic fields of Earth and the Sun, or more precisely the phenomenon known as magnetic reconnection, can feed the aurora explosions.
JAXA plans to launch a new spacecraft called the ERG satellite that aims to observe the inner region of the magnetosphere. Collaborative observations with GEOTAIL and ERG satellites will help to understand phenomena taking place in the geospace.

Image: Artist concept of the GEOTAIL and the MMS missions to study how does the Earth’s magnetosphere take in the energy of the solar wind. (Credits: ISAS/JAXA)

The Magnetosphere Has a Large Intake of Solar Wind Energy

Jul. 7, 2016 Updated
An Unexpectedly Calm Hot Gas in the Center of the Perseus Cluster

An international team observed the hot gas in the Perseus cluster with the Soft X-ray Spectrometer (SXS) on board the X-ray Astronomy Satellite ASTRO-H ("Hitomi") during its initial operation phase, which started one week after liftoff. The total integration time was 230,000 s.
The energy resolution of the SXS data was high, equaling the best resolution estimated during ground testing. The observation data demonstrated the good in-orbit performance of the SXS and its ability to measure the velocity of hot gas with at least 20 times better resolution than previous instruments.
This observation resulted in the first determination of the velocity of hot gas in the center of a galaxy cluster.
At the center of the Perseus cluster, a gigantic black hole emits powerful jets that collide with the surrounding hot gas and push it outward. For this reason, large turbulent flows of the hot gas were expected. However, the SXS observation revealed that the chaotic motion was small and the hot gas was calm, despite the violent conditions.
These results are presented in a paper published on July 7, 2016, in the journal Nature.

An Unexpectedly Calm Hot Gas in the Center of the Perseus Cluster

Jul. 1, 2016 Updated
Ryugu Observation Campaign (for expert observers)

The target asteroid of Hayabusa2 is (162173) Ryugu, 1999 JU3 in the provisional designation. Hayabusa2 will arrive at this asteroid in June - July 2018. In this summer, we have a opportunity to observe Ryugu, so we set up "Ryugu Observation Campaign" from July 1 to August 15, 2016. This is the last chance to observe Ryugu before Hayabusa2 arrives there.

However the maximum apparent magnitude will be just 18th mag, so it is rather dark. Maybe you need a telescope with the diameter of 1m or so. Or you must follow the motion of Ryugu with your telescope. Therefor the observation will be rather difficult, but please try it if you can. Good luck!

Ryugu Observation Campaign (for expert observers)

Jun. 22, 2016 Updated
Trace of Itokawa's Four Billion Years of History Found on Particles

A research team led by Aerospace Project Research Associate Toru Matsumoto of JAXA found that traces of more than four billion years of history up until now of the Asteroid "Itokawa" were recoded on the surface of particles that were recovered from Itokawa by the Asteroid Explorer “Hayabusa” to bring back to the Earth, and their surface patterns and marks were analyzed by the research team.
The research team observed the faint structure of the particle surface in details through X-ray microtomography (X-ray CT) and by scanning electron microscopes. As a result, the surface pattern that had been believed to be just one type was found to be at least four variations. One of them was found to stem from Itokawa's parent body. Some particles analyzed this time retain the pattern that was thought to be made over four billion years ago.
The research method this time can acquire a lot of information without hurting the precious particles. Therefore, this method will become an imperative first-step analysis skill when studying extraterrestrial objects.

Trace of Itokawa's Four Billion Years of History Found on Particles

Jun. 15, 2016 Updated
JAXA Executives Take Pay Cut Due to ASTRO-H (Hitomi) Anomaly

Due to the anomaly experienced with X-Ray Astronomy Satellite ASTRO-H (Hitomi), three of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s executive employees have decided to take a 10% pay cut to their monthly salary for four months, to be effective July 2016.

Jun. 10, 2016 Updated
Hitomi Experience Report - Handout for the Specialists advisory panel meeting called by MEXT.

(MEXT : Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology).

Jun. 3, 2016 Updated
Handout for the Specialists advisory panel meeting called by MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology).

May 27, 2016 Updated
Handout for the Specialists advisory panel meeting called by MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology).

May 23, 2016 Updated
A movie of the Venus' night-side produced by IR2

This movie is produced from the IR2 2.26-μm images, acquired on 29 March 2016 at a distance of 0.36 million km. Original 4 images were acquired with 4-hour intervals from 16:03 JST (07:03 UT).

In 4 hours, the super-rotating clouds move by ~10 degrees. Such images are numerically derotated to produce intermediate images so that the resultant motion becomes smoother. Deformation, appearance and disapperance of clouds are obvious in this movie. As the mission enters the "nominal" observing phase, we plan to shorten the intervals to 2 hours or even shorter so the high-definition movies will definitely help understanding of the Venus atmosphere.

A movie of the Venus' night-side produced by IR2

May 20, 2016 Updated
Whole-atmospheric monthly CO2 concentration tops 400 ppm based on observations by IBUKI

A recent provisional analysis of IBUKI (GOSAT) observational data shows that the global atmospheric monthly mean CO2 concentration observed vertically through the whole atmosphere exceeded 400 ppm in December 2015 for the first time since GOSAT was launched in 2009.
Several meteorological agencies such as the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) have already reported that the global monthly mean CO2 concentration based on data obtained at surface-level monitoring sites has exceeded 400 ppm. However, it is the first time that the whole-atmospheric CO2 mean exceeded 400 ppm monitored by GOSAT, which can observe CO2 concentrations from the surface to the top of the atmosphere (about 70km). It means that CO2 concentrations are increasing not only at the global surface but also in the global atmosphere.

Whole-atmospheric monthly CO2 concentration tops 400 ppm based on observations by IBUKI

May 11, 2016 Updated
HINODE captured the transit of Mercury across the Sun

Mercury marched in front of the Sun from 11:11 UT to 18:44 UT on May 9. Hinode, which is on a Sun-synchronous orbit around the Earth, was able to observe this event without atmospheric distortion.
Image: Transit of Mercury captured by the Solar Optical Telescope (SOT)

HINODE captured the transit of Mercury across the Sun

Apr. 28, 2016 Updated
AKATSUKI onboard instruments to move to regular operation

JAXA decided to shift the operation mode of the five onboard instruments of AKATSUKI to the regular operation mode, namely 1μm camera (IR1), 2μm camera (IR2), Longwave IR camera (LIR), Ultraviolet image (UVI), and Ultra-stable Oscillator (USO).
Lightening and airglow camera (LAC) continues to be in the preparation mode for its conditions to be carefully coordinated.

[Message from Project Manager Masato Nakamura]
Thanks to your support, we were able to move the four cameras and the Ultra-sable Oscillator to regular operations. Thank you very much. We continuously acquire data for the world’s leading Venus research while we are aiming at early regular operation of the LAC. Please look forward to the operation and data acquisition of the Venus climate orbiter “AKATSUKI.”

Image: Night side of Venus taken by the IR2.
The night side image shows the whole of Venus, and the image captured the most detailed Venus state. We will closely and precisely study the 3D structure and movement of the Venus atmosphere by combining data of different wavelengths from other cameras.


AKATSUKI onboard instruments to move to regular operation

Apr. 28, 2016 Updated
Operation Plan of ASTRO-H (Hitomi)

JAXA established the emergency headquarters and has been doing its utmost to understand the anomaly of ASTRO-H (“Hitomi”). We have made every effort to confirm the status of ASTRO-H and to regain its functions. Unfortunately, based on our rigorous technical investigation, we had to conclude.
On April 28 (JST), JAXA held a press briefing and sent out press releases on ASTRO-H (“Hitomi”).

JAXA have determined that we cannot restore the ASTRO-H’s functions. Accordingly, JAXA will cease the efforts to restore ASTRO-H and will focus on the investigation of anomaly causes. We will carefully review all phases from design, manufacturing, verification, and operations to identify the causes that may have led to this anomaly including background factors.

JAXA expresses the deepest regret for the fact that we had to discontinue the operations of ASTRO-H and extends our most sincere apologies to everyone who has supported ASTRO-H believing in the excellent results ASTRO-H would bring, to all overseas and domestic partners including NASA, and to all foreign and Japanese astrophysicists who were planning to use the observational results from ASTRO-H for their studies.

Apr. 21, 2016 Updated
GSMap received the MEXT science and technology award

Development and research members of the Global Satellite Mapping of Precipitation (GSMaP) received the JFY2016 minister’s science and technology award (science and technology promotion section) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT).
GSMaP was appreciated for its quasi-real time provision system of high accuracy precipitation distribution data as such data had been less accurate and the provision of such data had often been delayed.
GSMap is used for weather and hydrological agencies and organizations in Asia, Africa, Oceania, Europe and the U.S to contribute to reduce damage due to precipitation by monitoring precipitation and flood prediction. In addition, the data is published on the website of the “Global Rainfall Watch” and “Realtime Rainfall Watch” for ordinary users to easily access it.

GSMap received the MEXT science and technology award

Apr. 21, 2016 Updated
DAICHI-2 received the MEXT science and technology award

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) recognizes remarkable achievements of R&D and the promotion of understanding in the science and technology field by presenting an award, the MEXT minister’s award in the field of science and technology.
Development and research members of DAICHI-2 received the JFY 2016 MEXT minister science and technology award (development section). Technology for high accuracy observations on diastrophism was appreciated.
With this technology, JAXA continues to observe tectonic movement and land sliding status caused by the 20106 Kumamoto Earthquake.

DAICHI-2 received the MEXT science and technology award

Apr. 21, 2016 Updated
Handout of press briefing (April 15)

On April 15 (JST), JAXA held a press briefing to explain the status of the X-ray Astronomy Satellite "Hitomi” (ASTRO-H) and our activities to re-establish communications with “Hitomi.”

Apr. 13, 2016 Updated
Handout of press briefing (April 8)

On April 8 (JST), JAXA held a press briefing to explain the status of the X-ray Astronomy Satellite "Hitomi” (ASTRO-H) and our activities to re-establish communications with “Hitomi.”

Apr. 7, 2016 Updated
Handout of press briefing (April 1)

On April 1 (JST), JAXA held a press briefing to explain the status of the X-ray Astronomy Satellite "Hitomi” (ASTRO-H) and our activities to re-establish communications with “Hitomi.”

Apr. 1, 2016 Updated
AKATSUKI regular observation to begin in mid April

AKATSUKI has been performing test observations by turning on its onboard observation instruments one by one. The instruments are starting up normally, and we have already conducted successful observations that are equivalent to a “minimum success” (*), thus we will move to regular operations in mid April.

* Minimum success: The minimum goal for achieving a mission. For AKATSUKI, the minimum success is to capture Venus’s all-globe cloud structure by continuously acquiring image data (for every few hours) using some of its onboard cameras from Venus orbit.

Image: Test observation results by the Longwave IR camera (LIR) The image shows bow-shape clouds running from the Southern hemisphere to the Northern one of Venus. This is the first time to learn such a phenomenon.


AKATSUKI regular observation to begin in mid April

Mar. 31, 2016 Updated
Hayabysa2 mission logo color change

It has been a year since Hayabusa2 was launched, and we changed the color of the mission logo while moving to the Transfer orbit* phase.
The illustration of Hayabusa2 itself is the same but the name of the target asteroid was updated to RYUGU from its provisional designation 1999JU3. The background color was also changed to blue for showing Hayabusa2’s endeavor flying through space in the solar system toward RYUGU by leaving the near Earth orbit.
Please support Hayabusa2, which is navigating the mighty ocean of the solar system.
* The orbit between the Earth orbit and the orbit around RYUGU.

Hayabysa2 mission logo color change

Mar. 29, 2016 Updated
Current Status of Communication Anomaly of X-ray Astronomy Satellite “Hitomi” (ASTRO-H) (Mar. 29)

JAXA has been trying to communicate with the X-ray Astronomy Satellite “Hitomi” (ASTRO-H), using ground stations both in Japan and overseas.

By utilizing two opportunities of communicating with Hitomi, JAXA received signals from the satellite: the first time was at about 10:00 p.m. on 28 at the Uchinoura Ground Station, and the second one was at around 0:30 a.m. on 29 at the Santiago Tracking Station in Chile. JAXA has not been able to find the state of its health, as the time frames for receiving the signals were very short.

According to the U.S. Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC), it is estimated that Hitomi separated to five pieces at about 10:42 a.m. on 26. In order to investigate the situation, JAXA is observing the objects, using a radar located at the Kamisaibara Space Guard Center (KSGC) and telescopes at the Bisei Space Guard Center (BSGC) owned by the Japan Space Forum. Up to now, the telescopes at BSGC detected two objects around the satellite’s original orbit, while the radar at KSGC identified one of them. It is confirmed that the signal received at the Santiago Tracking Station came from the orbital direction of the object identified at KSGC.

JAXA continues to investigate the relationship between the information from JSpOC and the communication anomaly.

JAXA will do its utmost to recover communications with Hitomi and investigate the cause of the anomaly.

* In the above report, it is written in the third paragraph that "According to the U.S. Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC), it is estimated that Hitomi separated to five pieces...." JAXA re-confirmed the situation with JSpOC and found that their estimation actually meant, "five objects fell off from the satellite (meaning the satellite is now separated into six parts).”

Mar. 27, 2016 Updated
Communication anomaly of X-ray Astronomy Satellite “Hitomi” (ASTRO-H) (Mar. 27)

JAXA found that communication with the X-ray Astronomy Satellite “Hitomi” (ASTRO-H), launched on February 17, 2016 (JST), failed from the start of its operation originally scheduled at 16:40, Saturday March 26 (JST). Up to now, JAXA has not been able to figure out the state of health of the satellite.

While the cause of communication anomaly is under investigation, JAXA received short signal from the satellite, and is working for recovery.

Under this circumstance, JAXA set up emergency headquarters, headed by the President, for recovery and investigation. The headquarters held its first meeting today, and has been working for recovery and the investigation of the cause. Updates will be announced as available, at the JAXA website.


Mar. 24, 2016 Updated
“Hisaki” (SPRINT-A) captures the powerful Jovian auroras caused by the solar winds

“Hisaki” (SPRINT-A), in cooperation with NASA’s Chandler X-ray telescope and XMM Newton, observed Jovian auroras for 2 weeks.
The results show the close correlation between the solar wind speed and the intensity of Jovian auroras. In addition, the calculations reveal that the lines of magnetic force which penetrate X-ray auroras are on Jovian geomagnetism and the interfacial boundary of the solar winds. This finding suggests that X-ray auroras, as are the case of the earth’s auroras, the ions which are accelerated by the solar winds generate X-ray auroras.
Further observation shall discover more about X-ray auroras.

“Hisaki” (SPRINT-A) captures the powerful Jovian auroras caused by the solar winds

Mar. 17, 2016 Updated
DAICHI-2 honored by central emergency communications council

DAICHI-2 received an award for its contributions to anti-disaster operations by the council (*) on March 16, 2016. DAICHI-2 performs emergency observations in response to requests from disaster preparation agencies, and swiftly provides data to understand signs of disasters and their status.
For emergency observations of a volcanic eruption at Kuchinoerabu Island, we provided observation data about four hours after the explosion following a request from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA). The data analysis results by disaster prevention agencies was then reported to the Coordinating Committee for the Prediction of Volcanic Eruptions of the JMA to learn about the changes in the crater, falling ash, and pyroclastic flows. (Image: Kuchinoerabu Island just after the eruption shot by DAICHI-2)
When volcanic activity begun at Sakurajima and Hakone, DAICHI-2 also observed the status with its capacity of detecting tectonic movements down to centimeters. The acquired data was also analyzed by disaster prevention agencies for use by JMA to determine the level of alert/warning issues and for respective municipal governments to set up access restrictions.
JAXA continues to support disaster measures through satellite technology.

* Central emergency communications council: The council was established for smooth communication in times of emergencies like a natural disaster, and it honors individuals and organizations that make significant achievements in this area.

DAICHI-2 honored by central emergency communications council

Mar. 10, 2016 Updated
HINODE captured partial solar eclipse

JAXA, NAOJ/NINS, and NASA, release partial eclipse images and videos taken on March 9 with the Solar Physics Satellite “Hinode”.
The images and videos were taken on March 9, 2016 at 9:08 JST with the X-Ray Telescope (XRT) aboard “Hinode” during its flight above the Indonesian sky at an altitude of 680km.
During this period, international joint observations were performed between “Hinode” and ground-based observation teams in Indonesia.
The X-ray solar images and videos can be downloaded from below.

HINODE captured partial solar eclipse

Feb. 29, 2016 Updated
Hitomi critical operation phase successfully completed!

JAXA confirmed the completion of a sequence of important operations of the X-ray Astronomy Satellite “Hitomi” (ASTRO-H), including turning the cooling system on, test operation of the Soft X-ray Spectrometer (SXS), and extending the Extensible Optical Bench (EOB). With this confirmation, the critical operation phase of Hitomi was completed.
The Hitomi will take about one and half months to verify the function of its onboard equipment and instruments in space, then we will conduct calibration observations for another one and half months.

Hitomi critical operation phase successfully completed!

Feb. 25, 2016 Updated
Let Geospace satellite “ERG” carry your support message!

We are inviting you to have your message travel on the ERG satellite to explore the Van Allen belts, which is the last frontier in space around the Earth.
Please send your support message to the mission of the “Exploration of energization and Radiation in Geospace” or “ERG”, which is scheduled to be launched in JFY2016. The messages will be printed on an aluminum plate that will be installed on the satellite as part of a balance weight.

Let Geospace satellite “ERG” carry your support message!

Feb. 17, 2016 Updated
ASTRO-H successfully launched and named “Hitomi”.

H-IIA F30 with the "ASTRO-H" onboard launched at 5:45 p.m. on Feb 17, 2016 (JST) from the Tanegashima Space Center. The rocket flew smoothly, and, at about 14 minutes after liftoff, "ASTRO-H" was separated from the H-IIA F30.
ASTRO-H is the eye to study the hot and energetic universe. Therefore we name ASTRO-H, "Hitomi". The word "Hitomi".generally means "eye", and specifically the pupil, or entrance window of the eye – the aperture!

ASTRO-H successfully launched and named “Hitomi”.

Feb. 14, 2016 Updated
ASTRO-H Launch rescheduled to 5:45 p.m. on Feb 17 (Wed. ,JST)

The launch of the The X-ray Astronomy Satellite "ASTRO-H" by the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 30 was rescheduled at 5:45 p.m. on Feb 17 (Wed. Japan Standard Time, JST) after carefully studying the weather conditions.

The live launch report will begin at 5:25 p.m. on Feb 17(Wed. ,JST). The report will be broadcast through the Internet.
Please send your support messages for the mission!

ASTRO-H Launch rescheduled to 5:45 p.m. on Feb 17 (Wed. ,JST)

Feb. 12, 2016 Updated
The X-ray Astronomy Satellite "ASTRO-H" launch postponement

H-IIA Launch Vehicle No.30 with the X-ray Astronomy Satellite "ASTRO-H" onboard, which was originally scheduled for February 12 (Fri.), 2016 (Japan Standard Time), has been rescheduled because bad weather is expected. The new launch day will be announced as soon as it is determined. Your warm support messages are welcomed at the support site.

The X-ray Astronomy Satellite "ASTRO-H" launch postponement

Feb. 3, 2016 Updated
ASTRO-H Press Kit

As the launch day approaches, JAXA has released the press kit for the X-ray Astronomy Satellite “ASTRO-H”. It covers ASTRO-H’s satellite and  mission overview, scientific missions, and observation instruments. Please have a look.

ASTRO-H Press Kit

Jan. 21, 2016 Updated
ASTRO-H's development and preparation status is updated on the ASTRO-H diary site

Aiming at the launch and success of the mission, for some years the Astro-H team members have been hard at work at research and development, making steady progress. They have faced many tough obstacles along this long road. They have had many moments of success.
This diary is an introduction to the daily work life -- and to the excitements -- of these members.

ASTRO-H's development and preparation status is updated on the ASTRO-H diary site

Jan. 12, 2016 Updated
ASTRO-H Satellite Shown to the Public

On the day marking exactly one month to launch, the ASTRO-H spacecraft was exhibited to the public at the Tanegashima Space Center. Many questions were asked both about the science goals of ASTRO-H and about its engineering.

ASTRO-H Satellite Shown to the Public

Dec. 25, 2015 Updated
The Optical Link Experiment with the Laser Altimeter (LIDAR)

Before and after the Earth swing-by, the laser altimeter (LIDAR) on Hayabusa2 attempted to receive laser light from the satellite laser ranging (SLR) ground stations.
After the swing-by, the Mt. Stromlo station at SERC (Space Environment Research Centre Australia) in the suburbs of Canberra, Australia, transmitted laser light towards Hayabusa2. The spacecraft successfully received the beam using the onboard LIDAR that can send and recieve laser signals to accurately establish the range of objects from the spacecraft. At the time of the transmission from Mt. Stomlo, Hayabusa2 was 6,700,000 km from Earth. This success established the one-way 'up link' of the optical connection.

The Optical Link Experiment with the Laser Altimeter (LIDAR)

Dec. 24, 2015 Updated
Photographing the Earth just before Hayabusa2's swing-by : Complete version

In our previous post, we shared images of the Earth taken by Hayabusa2, as the spacecraft approached for the Earth swing-by. There, we showed the Earth from 09:00 JST (00:00 UT) through to 17:45 JST (08:45 UT). In this post, we extend the animation to show all the images that were taken of the Earth from the ONC-W2 camera during the Earth approach which runs to 18:30 JST (09:00 UT) (Figure 1). Figure 2 shows the images individually that comprise the animation, totaling 19 separate frames.

Photographing the Earth just before Hayabusa2's swing-by : Complete version

Dec. 14, 2015 Updated
Hayabusa2: Successful Earth swing-by and heading to Ryugu

JAXA confirmed that the Asteroid Explorer “Hayabusa2” entered its target orbit to travel to an asteroid Ryugu after the Earth-swing-by on Dec. 3.

The Hayabusa2 took images of the Earth using its onboard Optical Navigation Camera - Telescopic (ONC-T) after the swing-by. You can see the Australian continent and Antarctica in the image. Meteorological satellites including the Himawari cannot take images of the Antarctic area hence the shot this time is precious.

Hayabusa2: Successful Earth swing-by and heading to Ryugu

Dec. 11, 2015 Updated
X-ray Astronomy Satellite "ASTRO-H" to be launched on Feb. 12

The new generation X-ray astronomy satellite ASTRO-H is set for launch on February 12 (Fri.), by the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 30 from the Tanegashima Space Center.

JAXA will broadcast a live launch report on the launch day. We will announce more details later. Please look forward to the launch!

X-ray Astronomy Satellite "ASTRO-H" to be launched on Feb. 12

Dec. 9, 2015 Updated
AKATSUKI successfully inserted into Venus' orbit

As a result of measuring and calculating the AKATSUKI’s orbit after its thrust ejection on Dec. 7, JAXA found that the AKATSUKI was inserted into the Venus orbit.
We have already received images from three instruments whose function has already been confirmed, namely the Ultraviolet Imager (UVI), the Longwave IR camera (LIR), and the 1μm camera (IR1).
We will check the function of the three other scientific mission instruments and perform initial observation for about three months while gradually adjusting the orbit for shifting its elliptical orbit to the period of about nine days. The regular operation is scheduled to start in April, 2016.

Image: Venus taken by UVI on Dec. 7 (JST).

AKATSUKI successfully inserted into Venus' orbit

Dec. 7, 2015 Updated
AKATSUKI attitude control engine thrust operation performed as scheduled

JAXA performed the attitude control engine thrust operation of the Venus Climate Orbiter “AKATSUKI” for its Venus orbit insertion from 8:51 a.m. on December 7 (Japan Standard Time).
As a result of analyzing data transmitted from the orbiter, we confirmed that the thrust emission of the attitude control engine was conducted for about 20 minutes as scheduled!
The orbiter is now in good health. We are currently measuring and calculating its orbit after the operation. It will take a few days to estimate the orbit, thus we will announce the operation result once it is determined.
We welcome your support messages to the AKATSUKI mission and its project team members!

AKATSUKI attitude control engine thrust operation performed as scheduled

Dec. 7, 2015 Updated
Test image acquisition by AKATSUKI onboard cameras (on Dec. 1, 2015)

The AKATSUKI had been maintaining a safe posture by facing its mounting surface of the high-gain antenna toward the sun as that surface is relatively strong against heat. In that posture, the onboard cameras, which were stowed in the main body of the orbiter, were not able to change their view direction.
Since the end of November, 2015, even in that position, Venus came into the view of the cameras, and, on Dec. 1, three onboard cameras, Ultraviolet imager (UVI), 1μm camera (IR1) and Longwave IR camera (LIR),shot images of the planet. The distance between the AKATSUKI and Venus at that time was about 1.1 million kilometers, which is about three times that between the moon and the Earth. We were able to download the acquired ultraviolet images (wavelength 365 nm) by the UVI and near infrared image (wavelength 900 nm) by IR1 on Dec. 7, and confirmed that the image shooting went well.
Left image by UVI and right ones by IR1

Test image acquisition by AKATSUKI onboard cameras (on Dec. 1, 2015)

Dec. 3, 2015 Updated
Hayabusa2 Earth Swing-by

JAXA performed an Earth swing-by operation of the "Hayabusa2" on the night of Dec 3 (Thu.), 2015 (Japan Standard Time). The "Hayabusa2 flew closest to the Earth at 7:08 p.m. (JST) and passed over the Pacific Ocean around the Hawaii islands at an altitude of about 3,090 km.
After its closest flight to the Earth, we have confirmed the good health of the "Hayabusa2".
It will take about a week to confirm if the explorer entered the target orbit.

Hayabusa2 Earth Swing-by

Dec. 2, 2015 Updated
ASTRO-H press day

The X-ray Astronomy Satellite “ASTRO-H” was revealed to the media on Nov. 27 at the Tsukuba Space Center.
The ASTRO-H is an astronomy satellite to elucidate the structure of space and its evolution through studying high-temperature and high-energy celestial bodies, such as black holes, supernova remnants, and galaxy clusters by X-rays and gamma-rays.
X-rays and gamma-rays from space are absorbed in the Earth’s atmosphere, thus they cannot be observed on the Earth. Therefore observation in space is necessary.
The ASTRO-H was developed as a successor to the Suzaku, also an X-ray astronomy satellite. The ASTRO-H is a flagship mission of X-ray astronomy with the participation of over 200 researchers in its development from various domestic and international universities and research institutions including JAXA and NASA. Four new observation systems developed based on broad-scale international cooperation are installed on the ASTRO-H, hence, compared to the Suzaku, it will be able to perform spectroscopic observations on celestial bodies 10 times to 100 times darker than what the Suzaku was capable of doing.

ASTRO-H press day

Nov. 27, 2015 Updated
Hayabusa2 took images of the moon and Earth

The Hayabusa2, which is flying closer to the Earth for its scheduled swing-by, photographed the moon and the Earth simultaneously using its onboard Optical Navigation Camera-Telephoto (ONC-T) at 12:46 p.m. on November 26, 2015 (Japan Standard Time).
On the right is the Earth, and you can see the moon on the left. The ONC-T has a multiple number of filters for observing the asteroid “Ryugu”. The image data this time was acquired by using three of the filters, and a pseudo-color image was compiled by assigning the three as R (red), G (green) and B (blue). The distance between the Hayabusa2 and the Earth was about three million kilometers.
You can see the Australian continent on the right, the Eurasian continent covered by clouds on the left, and the white vertical areas between them are clouds over the equator.
The ONC-T was jointly developed by JAXA, the University of Tokyo, Chiba Institute of Technology, Rikkyo University, Meiji University, Nagoya University, the University of Aizu, and Kochi University.

*The images here were trimmed for the sake of the website. Please have a look at JAXA Digital Archives for the original image.

Hayabusa2 took images of the moon and Earth

Nov. 27, 2015 Updated
IBUKI methane observation data: close correlation between methane concentration and human activity

As a result of analyzing three-year observation data acquired by the Greenhouse Gas Observing Satellite “IBUKI” (GOSAT) until Dec. 2012, the concentration of methane is higher in areas where anthropogenically-derived methane emission is intense, such as densely populated areas, large-scale agricultural regions, natural gas and oil producing/refining areas, compared to other surround areas.
In addition, intimate correlation was found between anthropogenically derived methane concentration observed by IBUKI and the concentration estimated by actual emission data (inventory*); therefore, IBUKI can be a viable monitor/verification tool for methane emission by human activity.
We will survey, research and analyze anthropogenically derived methane concentration more frequently by using a multiple number of satellite data to further enhance estimation accuracy. Our achievements will be applied to the successor of IBUKI (GOSAT-2) to contribute to promotion of global warming measures.

* Statistic data indicating how much of specific substance (such as air pollutant and hazardous chemical substance) is emitted from where in a specific period of time.

IBUKI methane observation data: close correlation between methane concentration and human activity

Nov. 16, 2015 Updated
Public release of whole-atmosphere monthly mean CO2 concentration based on observations by IBUKI

"IBUKI" (GOSAT) has been in operation since its launch on January 23, 2009. The whole-atmosphere monthly mean concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2), calculated by using GOSAT data that reflect CO2 levels in all layers of the atmosphere, was found to have reached 398.8 ppm in May 2015, while showing seasonal oscillation and yearly rise over the analyzed period. It was also confirmed that the trend line of the whole-atmosphere CO2 mean (average seasonal cycle removed) had reached 398.2 ppm in July 2015. The trend line is expected to exceed 400 ppm within the year 2016, given that the rising trend continues. The GOSAT observation elucidates for the first time that CO2 concentration averaged over all layers of the atmosphere will soon reach the level of 400 ppm, and demonstrates the importance of global greenhouse gas monitoring from space.

Public release of whole-atmosphere monthly mean CO2 concentration based on observations by IBUKI

Nov. 9, 2015 Updated
AKATSUKI: Second attempt to enter Venus orbit

The Venus Climate Orbiter AKATSUKI will try to enter the orbit of Venus on Dec. 7 (Mon.) after five years of operation. We are welcoming support messages.
After AKATSUKI’s failure to enter Venus' orbit on Dec. 7, 2010, JAXA investigated the cause and considered a second attempt schedule while operating the satellite for a long period. Now, on Dec. 7, 2015, coincidentally the same day on the calendar as the previous attempt, we will perform the injection for the second time.
The AKATSUKI is in a good condition and it will take a few days of confirmation to know the result. Your support for the AKATSUKI and its project team members is very much appreciated.

AKATSUKI: Second attempt to enter Venus orbit

Nov. 2, 2015 Updated
Hayabusa2 set for Earth swing-by! Your support messages welcomed.

The Asteroid Explorer “Hayabusa2” will fly near the Earth to perform an Earth swing-by utilizing the Earth’s gravity on Dec. 3 (Thur.) for its orbit control.
The Hayabusa2, which soared into space on Dec. 3, 2014, will coincidentally come close to the Earth on Dec. 3 (Thur.), 2015, to conduct the Earth swing-by. The explorer will fly closest to the Earth at around 7:07 p.m. on that day (Japan Standard Time).
After the swing-by, the Hayabusa2 will head to its target asteroid “Ryugu”. Your support for the mission will be very welcomed. We are waiting for your support messages to the explorer itself, project personnel, and the overall mission.

Hayabusa2 set for Earth swing-by! Your support messages welcomed.

Nov. 2, 2015 Updated
Release of the JAXA Realtime Rainfall Watch

Earth Observation Research Center (EORC) of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has developed GSMaP realtime version (GSMaP_NOW) providing rainfall information of current hour, and released those information through a new webpage “JAXA Realtime Rainfall Watch”.
While GSMaP near-real-time version (GSMaP_NRT) is provided with 4-hour data latency, which consists of 3-hour for data gathering and 1-hour for processing, GSMaP_NOW is provided in quasi-realtime and updated every half-hour. For example, hourly GSMaP_NOW image and data during 0930Z and 1029Z is available at around 1030Z through the web site.

Release of the JAXA Realtime Rainfall Watch

Nov. 2, 2015 Updated
ASTRO-H sinusoidal vibration test

The sinusoidal vibration test of the X-ray astronomy satellite “ASTRO-H” was held between Aug. 29 and Oct. 2 at the Tsukuba Space Center. The sinusoidal vibration test aims at two major evaluation objectives, namely evaluating dynamic characteristics of a satellite structure and assessing its strength by loading vibrations equivalent to that at the launch.
On Oct. 2, the last vibration test was completed, then planned dynamic characteristics data was acquired and the strength of the satellite structure against a vibration load equivalent to that at the time of launch was verified.

ASTRO-H sinusoidal vibration test

Oct. 20, 2015 Updated
Suzaku reveals average chemical composition of our Universe on largest scales

All of the chemical elements that are heavier than carbon, the oxygen we breathe, the silicon that makes up the sand on the beach, were produced inside stars through nuclear fusion and released by stellar explosions called supernovae. By measuring the chemical composition of the Universe, scientists are trying to reconstruct the history of how, when, and where each of the chemical elements so necessary for the evolution of life were produced.

Suzaku reveals average chemical composition of our Universe on largest scales

Oct. 5, 2015 Updated
“Ryugu” was selected as name of Hayabusa2 target asteroid

Asteroid 1999 JU3, a target of the Asteroid Explorer “Hayabusa2,” was named “Ryugu”.
One major reason for the selection was that, in the Japanese ancient story “Urashima Taro”, the main character, Taro Urashima, brought back a casket from the Dragon’s palace, or the “Ryugu” Castle, at the bottom of the ocean, and the theme of “bringing back a treasure” is common as the Hayabusa2 will also bring back a capsule with samples. It was selected among 7,336 entries.
The Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) Team of the United States, which discovered 1999 JU3, proposed the suggested name of “Ryugu” to the International Asteroid Union (IAU), and it was finalized by being listed on the Minor Planet Names: Alphabetical List of the IAU Minor Planet Center.
Thank you very much to so many of you who took part in the naming campaign.

“Ryugu” was selected as name of Hayabusa2 target asteroid

Sep. 2, 2015 Updated
Hayabusa2 additional ion engine operation for Earth swing-by

On Sept. 1 (Tue.) and 2 (Wed.), the ion engine of the Hayabusa2 was additionally operated in order to increase the orbit control accuracy for the Earth swing-by.
The additional jet emission was completed as scheduled, and the ion engine was operated for about 12 hours in total.
We will analyze telemetry data (data sent from the explorer to indicate its condition) in detail to confirm the status of the engine during the operation and orbit control before and after the emission.
Figure: Positional relation of Hayabusa2, the Earth, the Sun, and Asteroid 1999JU3 (Schematic as of Sept. 1, 2015)

Hayabusa2 additional ion engine operation for Earth swing-by

Aug. 31, 2015 Updated
AKATSUKI passed the perihelion

The Venus Climate Orbiter “AKATSUKI” flew at the closest point to the Sun, the perihelion, on its orbit at around 2:00 a.m. on Aug. 30, 2015. It is the ninth time of passing the perihelion since its launch in 2010. The AKATSUKI is still in a difficult state regarding the thermal environment, even after it flew away from the perihelion.
We will keep watching and checking the condition of the AKATSUKI’s onboard instruments very carefully.

AKATSUKI passed the perihelion

Aug. 26, 2015 Updated
Suzaku completes its scientific observations

JAXA determined that it is difficult to resume scientific observations of the X-ray Astronomy Satellite “Suzaku”, whose communication functions have been intermittently failing since June 1, 2015, despite our efforts to restore the regular operation. The decision to complete the observations was made after carefully examining the conditions of not only communication, but also batteries and attitude control.
JAXA will perform necessary procedures to halt the Suzaku’s operation.

Suzaku completes its scientific observations

Aug. 5, 2015 Updated
AKATSUKI: Orbit successfully controlled

JAXA performed an orbit control maneuver for the Venus Climate Orbiter “AKATSUKI” in late July in preparation for its re-injection into the Venus orbit scheduled for Dec. 7, 2015. According to the analysis of telemetry data acquired up to Aug. 2, the orbit control and correction was successfully conducted as scheduled by 5:30 p.m. on August 4. (All dates and time are Japan Standard Time.)

AKATSUKI: Orbit successfully controlled

Aug. 3, 2015 Updated
ASTRO-H thermal vacuum test

The thermal vacuum test was held for the X-ray Astronomy Satellite “ASTRO-H” between June 24 and July 9 in a 13-meter chamber at the Tsukuba Space Center. The purposes of the thermal vacuum test are to verify the thermal model by exposing a satellite to the vacuum and thermal environment, and to confirm the function and performance of observation instruments in the on-orbit environment through an electric test.
All tested items were satisfactorily confirmed including the expected performance of the onboard instruments, verification of the command function to be used in orbit, and calibration data acquisition.

ASTRO-H thermal vacuum test

Jul. 29, 2015 Updated
Communication establishment training with satellites using KIZUNA in a prediction of the Nankai Trough earthquake

On July 29, 2015, JAXA and NICT offered the Internet environment with asatellite when the Japan Medical Association (JMA) conducted the “satellite use demonstration in a prediction of the Nankai Trough earthquake (Disaster preparation drill) 2015.” The communication environment was established by setting up a ground station in each JMA prefectural office under the assumption that communication lines were cut off due to a large-scale disaster.
We transmitted high-definition images from a small mobile station on a NICT car via the KIZUNA and shared information with a virtual disaster-stricken area using the "Disaster Relief Aircraft Information Sharing Network (D- NET).”
Image: Mobile VSAT (in Kochi prefectural office.)

Communication establishment training with satellites using KIZUNA in a prediction of the Nankai Trough earthquake

Jul. 22, 2015 Updated
Naming Proposal Campaign: Become a godparent of asteroid "1999 JU3", destination of Hayabusa2!

JAXA is holding a naming proposal campaign to christen the asteroid “1999 JU3",which the Hayabusa2 is scheduled to visit in June or July 2018. Why don’t you try to become a godparent of the asteroid?
The application period is from 1:30 p.m. on July 22 thru 11:59 p.m. on August 31 (Japan Standard Time.)

August 31, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. (Japan Standard Time). (Extended from 10:00)

Naming Proposal Campaign: Become a godparent of asteroid "1999 JU3", destination of Hayabusa2!

Jul. 9, 2015 Updated
AKATSUKI to perform fourth orbit control to Venus

The AKATSUKI will perform an orbit control for the fourth time (DV4: Delta Velocity 4) from July 17, targeting to be injected into the Venus orbit again in December 2015. The control will be divided into three performances.
The orbit control this time aims at correcting AKATSUKI’s orbit to one that is advantageous to its observations after being injected into the Venus orbit. We will use four attitude control engines on the upper part of the explorer this time to take this opportunity to also verify their performance for re-entry in December.

AKATSUKI to perform fourth orbit control to Venus

Jun. 22, 2015 Updated
TRMM ends its 17 years of observations

The Japan-U.S. joint satellite project, Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission “TRMM” satellite, re-entered the atmosphere at 12:55 p.m. on June 16, 2015 (Japan Standard Time) over the South Indian Ocean. The TRMM satellite, launched by the H-II Launch Vehicle No. 6 on Nov. 28, 1997, far exceeded its design life of three years and two months and continued observations for 17 years to contribute to research on the study of precipitation.

  • Real-time compilation of global precipitation distribution by observation data acquired mainly by the TRMM and other satellites.
  • Precipitation data acquired by the TRMM has been used not only for weather observations and forecasts, but also for flood warnings and monitoring droughts.

TRMM achievements and heritage are succeeded by the GPM core observatory with the Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) onboard. The DPR is the upgraded Precipitation Radar (PR) of the TRMM.

TRMM ends its 17 years of observations

Jun. 12, 2015 Updated
Hopes to recover normal operation after Suzaku communication failure

The X-ray Astronomy Satellite “Suzaku” (ASTRO-EII) continues its operation after exceeding its target life of about two years. However, since June1, 2015, communication with the Suzaku has been intermittently cut off, so that we can confirm its operational status only when communication is established. We now assume that insufficient power is causing the discontinued communication. Thus we are doing our best to gather more accurate information of the operational status based on accumulated data through sporadic communication.
It will take some time, at least one to two months, to try to restore the normal observation operation. As a first step, we will stabilize the attitude of the Suzaku, then find a method to secure sufficient power.

Hopes to recover normal operation after Suzaku communication failure

Jun. 8, 2015 Updated
Hayabusa2 second ion engine continuous operation completed

The Hayabusa2 has been continuously operating its ion engine for the second time since June 2, and successfully completed its operations at 0:25 a.m. on June 7 (Japan Standard Time.) The second continuous operation lasted for 102 hours as scheduled.
The Hayabusa2 performed the ion engine continuous operation in preparation for the Earth swing-by planned in December, and the total hours of the first and second operations (409 hours and 102 hours respectively) reached 511 hours.
The ion engine operation may be conducted again if needs arise for subtle orbit change after carefully examining the second operation result.

Hayabusa2 second ion engine continuous operation completed

May 29, 2015 Updated
IKAROS enters hibernation mode for 5th time

JAXA has been confirming the status of the Small Solar Power Sail Demonstrator “IKAROS” by receiving data from it since April 2015, when the IKAROS woke up from its hibernation mode. We, however, could not receive radio waves from the IKAROS on May 21, thus we determined that the demonstrator had shifted to the hibernation mode for the fifth time as we expected.
According to the last data acquired in May, the position of the IKAROS is about 110 million kilometers away from the Earth, and about 130 million kilometers from the sun. No anomaly was found in the IKAROS from data we have obtained.
We anticipate that it will come out from the 5th hibernation mode in the winter of 2015.

IKAROS enters hibernation mode for 5th time

May 18, 2015 Updated
World Elevation Data (30-meter mesh version) is now available at JAXA's site free of charge!

JAXA will begin publishing free of charge an elevation data set that can express undulations of terrain over the world with a resolution of 30 meters horizontally (30-m mesh version). The data set has been compiled with images acquired by the "DAICHI" (ALOS). As the first step, we will offer the areas in East Asia, including Japan, and South East Asia regions, and will expand the areas to all over the world (within 82 deg. of N/S latitudes).
This data set is expected to be useful for scientific research, education, as well as the private service sector that uses geospatial information.

World Elevation Data (30-meter mesh version) is now available at JAXA's site free of charge!

May 14, 2015 Updated
Agreement concluded with MLIT on DAICHI-2 observation data

JAXA concluded an agreement with the Kyushu Regional Development Bureau of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) on April 30, 2015, to provide observation data by the Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 “DAICHI-2” (ALOS-2). The purpose of the agreement is to survey (1) secular changes of landscape and ash fall and (2) isolated islands for their up keep. We will work together to conduct surveys more efficiently with broader covering areas by mutually sharing and studying observation data possessed by the Kyushu Regional Development Bureau and JAXA's satellite data.
Taking this opportunity of concluding the agreement, we would like to contribute to a safe and secure society by expanding the use of satellites.

Agreement concluded with MLIT on DAICHI-2 observation data

May 12, 2015 Updated
Mercury Magnetosphere Orbiter arrived at European Space Research and Technology Center

The Mercury Magnetosphere Orbiter (MMO), which left the Sagamihara Campus in mid April, arrived at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands on April 16. The MMO will be tested there, then launched with the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) of the European Space Cagney (ESA) from the Guiana Space Center (in French Guiana) in JFY 2016.

Mercury Magnetosphere Orbiter arrived at European Space Research and Technology Center

Apr. 30, 2015 Updated
IKAROS wakes up from hibernation mode for the 4th time

The IKAROS seemed to wake up from its hibernation mode in mid March 2015, and JAXA searched for it based on its attitude and orbit prediction to receive its radio waves. On April 23 (Thu.), we successfully found the IKAROS, which is flying at a distance of about 120 million kilometers from the Earth.
We will continue to receive data from the IKAROS until May to confirm its condition and analyze the information.

The IKAROS, launched in May 2010, completed its mission, and is now revolving around the sun about every 10 months. Power generation is insufficient for seven months out of 10 so the IKAROS goes into hibernation mode for this period by shutting down instruments. For the remaining three months, the IKAROS is awake with enough power so that we can receivedata from it.

IKAROS wakes up from hibernation mode for the 4th time

Apr. 21, 2015 Updated
Soft Gamma-ray Detectors (SGDs) installation on ASTRO-H completed

Two Soft Gamma-ray Detectors (SGDs), which successfully went through the thermal vacuum test and the cooling test, were installed onto the ASTRO-H. The photo shows the SGD2 on the ASTRO-H with a debris cover and a radiator. A golden color MLI (multi-layer insulation) will wrap them so that they will not be seen from outside.
All the observation instruments are now installed on the ASTRO-H, so its preparations for launch are turning the final corner. We will work harder to overcome the many remaining hurdles including the functional test, thermal vacuum test, and vibration test.

Soft Gamma-ray Detectors (SGDs) installation on ASTRO-H completed

Apr. 10, 2015 Updated
Baton pass to new Hayabusa2 project manager

The Hayabusa2 is stably flying in space. The new fiscal year has just started in Japan, and JAXA is taking a new step as we became a National Research and Development Agency from the previous independent administrative agency. The Hayabusa2 project is also taking a fresh step with a new team, including handing the baton over to a new project manager. All members of the project are engaged in the mission with a fresh mindset.

Message from New Project Manager Yuichi Tsuda

The Hayabusa2 is stably flying since its launch and smoothly continuing it interplanetary cruising. I can, therefore, take over the mission at the best condition from my predecessor, former Project Manager Hitoshi Kuninaka, who led the development of the project. With many operation experts joining the new team, we would like to successfully send the Hayabusa2 to the asteroid 1999JU3, and have it come home safely.
The Hayabusa2 mission is challenging an unexplored field. We would like to contribute to enhancing the value of technology, science and space exploration through our accomplishments in traveling through the solar system in this six-year mission.

Message from Former Project Manager Hitoshi Kuninaka

As the development phase is over, Hayabusa2’s deep space exploration has started.
At the beginning of this fiscal year, a multiple number of our project members including myself were subject to personnel changes. Our team worked well with good team spirit to tackle and overcome various obstacles and difficulties. Therefore, I felt a bit disappointed to see part of the team was shuffled. Having said that, those who remain in the team as well as the leaving members vow to work hard and do our best using our expertise in space projects no matter what department we are assigned to. Your continued support for the Hayabusa2 is very much appreciated.

Photo: left: New Project Manager Yuichi Tsuda, right: Former Project Manager Hitoshi Kuninaka

Baton pass to new Hayabusa2 project manager

Mar. 27, 2015 Updated
Galaxy Scale Outflow of Matter Stimulated by a Monster Black-hole

By the observations from the Japan-led Suzaku X-ray satellite adn the European Space Agency’s infrared Herschel Space Observatory, scientists have discovered the first proof that a fierce outward “wind” is produced when a huge black-hole consumes a large mass of material, and the wind is source of outflow of matter at the galaxy scale.

Detail analysis of spectral data acquired from Suzaku’s on-board CCD camera found that active galactic nucleus are blown out from near-edge of a center huge black-hole every year at equivalent of 1.5 solar mass and at about 30% of light speed. They further describe that the black-hole’s activity is responsible for blowing star-forming gas out of the galaxy’s central regions. When the black hole shines at its brightest, the researchers say, it’s also effectively clearing gas and dust from the galaxy’s central regions and shutting down star formation there. The scientists think the observed galaxy known as IRAS F11119+3257 represents an early phase in the evolution of a quasar, a type of black-hole-powered galaxy with extreme luminosity across a broad wavelength range.
This research outcome indicates that the black-hole’s activity in galactic center is a key to understand the evolution of the host galaxy.

This research outcome is published in the March 26 edition of Nature.

Galaxy Scale Outflow of Matter Stimulated by a Monster Black-hole

Mar. 25, 2015 Updated
HISAKI’s first observation of Jupiter’s magnetosphere

A research team led by Researcher Tomoki Kimura (researcher of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency as well as a research fellowship for young scientist of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science) captured a sudden brightening (auroral expansion) through long-term continuous observations of Jupiter by the Spectroscopic Planet Observatory for Recognition of Atmosphere "HISAKI," and clarified for the first time in the world that this phenomenon was caused by the rapid rotation of Jupiter.

HISAKI’s first observation of Jupiter’s magnetosphere

Mar. 19, 2015 Updated
The Mercury Magnetosphere Orbiter (MMO) was shown to the media

The Mercury Magnetosphere Orbiter (MMO) was shown to the media on March 15.
The Mercury Exploration Mission "BepiColomobo" is now under development with a target launch for JFY 2016. The MMO will be shipped to Europe soon to be placed in the BepiColombo.

The Mercury Magnetosphere Orbiter (MMO) was shown to the media

Mar. 5, 2015 Updated
Hayabusa2 initial functional confirmation completed and moved to cruising phase to asteroid

The Asteroid Explorer “Hayabusa2,” launched on Dec. 3, 2014, completed its initial functional confirmation period of about three months. The explorer was moving to the cruising phase on March 3 while heading to the asteroid “1999 JU3.”
The Hayabusa2 is in good health. It will be under preparatory operation including speed increase by continuous operation of the ion engines for an Earth swing-by scheduled in Nov. or Dec., 2015.

Hayabusa2 initial functional confirmation completed and moved to cruising phase to asteroid

Feb. 6, 2015 Updated
AKATSUKI to be re-injected into Venus orbit on Dec. 7

After failing to be injected into the Venus orbit in Dec. 2010, JAXA has been carefully considering another injection attempt opportunity for the Venus Climate Orbiter “AKATSUK” to the Venus orbit when the orbiter meets Venus in the winter of 2015. As a result of detailed study, JAXA decided to inject the AKATSUKI into the orbit on December 7 (Mon.), 2015.
After being injected into the orbit, the AKATSUKI will observe the atmosphere of Venus, which is often referred to as a twin sister of the Earth, through remote sensing. Its observations are expected to develop "Planetary Meteorology" further by elucidating the atmospheric circulation mechanism and studying the comparison with the Earth.

AKATSUKI to be re-injected into Venus orbit on Dec. 7

Feb. 3, 2015 Updated
Hayabusa2 in great shape – Initial functional confirmation going smoothly

The Hayabusa2, launched on Dec. 3, 2014 (JST), is now undergoing the initial functional confirmation. Basic operations and performance of onboard instruments and ground systems have been tested one by one as of the end of January.
Here are some major examples of what we confirmed.

  1. Ion engine test operation (one unit at a time)
    Four ion engines were being operated one by one. A thrust of 7-10 mN was generated on the orbit for the first time.
  2. Establishing communication by Ka band communication equipment (Between Jan. 5 to 10, 2015)
    Communication was successful between the Hayabusa2 and NASA DSN stations to establish deep-space Ka-band communication for the first time for a Japanese space explorer. Ka-band communication will be used to send observation data during the mission for the Hayabusa2 to stay near the asteroid.
  3. Ion engine can autonomously operate for 24 hours.
    Long duration of autonomous operation (*1) with two or three ion engines was tested, and 24-hour continuous operation was attained.
    The maximum thrust was confirmed to be about 28 mN, which is the expected value.

The explorer is currently in good shape.
We will further confirm the coordinated function of multiple instruments of the Hayabusa2, and plan to move to the cruise operation phase (*2) sometime in March.

*1 The autonomous operation is automatic control of an engine without instructions from the ground.
*2 The mode of full-scale navigation operation toward the asteroid through acceleration and orbit control by ion engine thrust.

Hayabusa2 in great shape – Initial functional confirmation going smoothly

Jan. 25, 2015 Updated
Thermal vacuum test for Soft Gamma-ray Detectors

The Soft Gamma-ray Detectors (SGD) to observe the soft gamma-ray region of 60 to 600 keV are under the thermal vacuum test in the 8-meter chamber at the Tsukuba Space Center to confirm their thermal design.
The sensor part of the SGD does not activate till the temperature hits a low temperature of minus 20 degrees (C). However, the SGDs will be installed outside of the satellite panel, thus their temperature will increase from radiation from the Sun and the Earth, thermal input from the satellite panel, and heat from a large amount of LSI (large-scale integrated circuits) and an amplifier if nothing is done. Therefore, the accumulating heat will be carried to the radiator through thermal transfer and a heat pipe to be released, and the SGD will be covered by the multi-layer insulation (MLI), which looks like a bunch of aluminum foils, to shut out heat input. The semiconductor sensor is also activated with high voltage of 200 to 1000 V, hence it should also be tested if it would discharge in vacuum.
Photo: The SGD-2 sits in the 8-meter chamber.

Thermal vacuum test for Soft Gamma-ray Detectors

Jan. 23, 2015 Updated
ALOS-2/CIRC data is open to public!

After the calibration and validation of ALOS-2/CIRC, JAXA confirmed the data quality of ALOS-2/CIRC is adequate. All ALOS-2/CIRC data is avaliable from CIRC observation data search, if user follows the CIRC data policy.
The ultimate goal of the CIRC project is to minimize the damage and impact caused by forest fires, as well as contributing to urban planning and our understanding of volcanic disasters.

ALOS-2/CIRC data is open to public!

Jan. 20, 2015 Updated
Highly detailed data of far-infrared all-sky image

A team led by the University of Tokyo compiled a new far-infrared all-sky image using data acquired by the Infrared Astronomical Satellite AKARI. JAXA also cooperated with the team for image data compilation and its publication.
The resolution of the compiled data is four to five times better than the previous far-infrared all-sky image, and its observation wave length is also longer. The image data is published on the ISAS site for the use of world researchers.

Highly detailed data of far-infrared all-sky image

Jan. 9, 2015 Updated
AKATSUKI heading to Venus again

The Venus Climate Orbiter “AKATUSKI” has been flying on an orbit in which it could meet Venus again in 2015 since it carried out orbit control maneuvers three times in 2011 after its failure to be injected into the target orbit due to damage to its main engine in Dec. 2010.
On the current orbit, the orbiter has been exposed to heat that is about three times hotter than that of the Earth, thus we are concerned if some instruments might have been damaged. Fortunately, the deterioration rate of the thermal insulation material has been subsided and we are now planning to control the AKATSUKI to inject it into the Venus orbit while monitoring the conditions of the orbiter including the temperature of each instrument and part.

AKATSUKI heading to Venus again

Dec. 26, 2014 Updated
Global Change Observation Mission – Climate (GCOM-C) mission logo

A mission logo for the Global Change Observation Mission – Climate (GCOM-C) has been selected. GCOM-C is a satellite mission to clarify the climate change mechanism such as global warming, as well as to monitor the status of flying yellow sand, and to observe ocean plankton to estimate fishing points by acquiring various data on the Earth that is considered to have an impact on climate change.
The design of the GCOM-C mission logo is a simplified drawing of clouds, dust in the atmosphere (aerosols), vegetation (forests), snow ice, and ocean. The evergreen color, which is a traditional Japanese color, was selected for the basic color of the logo. The color shows our desire that the mission will constantly thrive for a long time like leave colors of evergreen trees such as Japanese pines and cedars.
GCOM-C is under development to be ready for launch in JFY 2016.

Global Change Observation Mission – Climate (GCOM-C) mission logo

Dec. 25, 2014 Updated
"IBUKI" (GOSAT) Satellite's Historically Unprecedented Observation of Anthropogenic CO2 Emissions of Mega-City Regions from Space

The Greenhouse gases Observing SATellite "IBUKI", developed jointly by the Ministry of the Environment (MOE), the National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES), and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is the world's only satellite designed specifically to monitor greenhouse gases from space. The satellite has continued to fulfill its main mission in monitoring atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane concentrations from space to improve the accuracy of sink/source estimates, and achieve its target to contribute to precision refinement for the ongoing elucidation of carbon cycles, since its launch on January 23, 2009.

"IBUKI" (GOSAT) Satellite's Historically Unprecedented Observation of Anthropogenic CO2 Emissions of Mega-City Regions from Space

Dec. 5, 2014 Updated
Hayabusa2 flying smoothly!

JAXA confirmed the completion of a sequence of the important operations for the "Hayabusa2" mission. With this confirmation, the critical operation phase* of the Hayabusa2 was completed.
The explorer is now in a stable condition.

We would like to express our sincere appreciation to all parties and personnel concerned for their support and cooperation with the Hayabusa2 launch and tracking control operations.
In addition, we would also like to ask for your continued cooperation and support for the long-term Hayabusa2 space exploration mission.

Please send your support messages for the mission! (you can send a message from Hayabusa2 Project page or tweet with hashtag #hayabusa2).

Hayabusa2 flying smoothly!

Dec. 3, 2014 Updated
"Hayabusa2" successfully launched!

H-IIA F26 with the Asteroid Explorer "Hayabusa2" onboard launched at 1:22:04 p.m. on Dec 3, 2014 (JST) from the Tanegashima Space Center.
The rocket flew smoothly, and, at about approximately one hour, 47 minutes and 21 seconds after liftoff, "Hayabusa2" was separated from the H-IIA F26. We will update you with the latest information on the "Hayabusa2" on the project page.
Please send your support messages for the mission! (you can send a message from Hayabusa2 Project page or tweet with hashtag #hayabusa2).

"Hayabusa2" successfully launched!

Nov. 30, 2014 Updated
"Hayabusa2" Launch rescheduled to 1:22:04 p.m. on December 3 (Mon.) 2014

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and JAXA have decided to postpone the launch of "Hayabusa2" and piggyback payloads by the H-IIA F26 to 1:22:04 p.m. on Dec 3 (Wed. JST).

The live launch report will begin at 12:25 p.m. on December 3 (Mon. , JST). The report will be broadcast through the Internet.
Please send your support messages for the mission! (you can send a message from Hayabusa2 Project page or tweet with hashtag #hayabusa2).

We decided to postpone as a result of the go/no go decision meeting today which carefully checked the weather forecast and found that strong wind exceeding the weather restrictions was projected around the launch pad at the scheduled launch time on the previous schedule launch day of Dec. 1 (Mon.), 2014.
*The launch may be delayed further depending on weather conditions and other factors.

"Hayabusa2" Launch rescheduled to  1:22:04 p.m. on December 3 (Mon.) 2014

Nov. 29, 2014 Updated
"Hayabusa2" Launch rescheduled to 1:22:43 p.m. on December 1 (Mon.) 2014

The launch of the Asteroid Explorer "Hayabusa2" and three micro piggyback payloads by the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 26 was rescheduled at 1:22:43 p.m. on December 1 (Mon. Japan Standard Time, JST) after carefully studying the weather conditions.
Accordingly, the live launch report will begin at 12:25 p.m. on December 1 (Mon. , JST). The report will be broadcast through the Internet.
Please send your support messages for the mission, or tweet it including the hashtag #hayabusa2.

"Hayabusa2" Launch rescheduled to 1:22:43 p.m. on December 1 (Mon.) 2014

Nov. 28, 2014 Updated
Hayabusa2 launch postponement

H-IIA Launch Vehicle No.26 with the Asteroid Explorer "Hayabusa2" onboard has been rescheduled as clouds including a freezing layer that exceeds the restrictions for suitable weather are forecast to be generated at around the scheduled launch time on November 30 (Sun.), 2014 (Japan Standard Time.)
The new launch day will be announced as soon as it is determined.

Hayabusa2 launch postponement

Nov. 27, 2014 Updated
New movie "Ready to Face New Challenges -Hayabusa2- "

The new video clip titled "Ready to Face New Challenges -Hayabusa2- " was uploaded to the YouTube.
It has been four years since the Hayabusa's dramatic return from space,bringing back the world's first samples from an asteroid. To further clarify the mystery of the origin and evolution of human beings, the Hayabusa2 is leaving for space. This video explains the special features and significance of the Hayabusa2 mission in an easy and simple manner.

New movie "Ready to Face New Challenges -Hayabusa2- "

Nov. 25, 2014 Updated
“DAICHI-2” Regular Provision of Observation Data

JAXA began regular provision of the Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 “DAICHI-2” (ALOS-2) observation data today as we have completed its initial functional confirmation and calibration operations as scheduled.
The ALOS-2 Data Distribution Consortium is the contact point for general users to receive DAICHI-2 observation data. Please refer to the press release for further information.

“DAICHI-2” Regular Provision of Observation Data

Nov. 4, 2014 Updated
“Hayabusa2" Launch Live Broadcast (by H-IIA F26)

JAXA will broadcast a live report of the Asteroid Explorer Hayabusa2’s launch by the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No.26 (H-IIA F26) from the Tanegashima Space Center. The report will cover launch events from the liftoff to the payload separation from the launch vehicle.

Program summary

The broadcast program consists of two parts. The first half mainly focuses on launch events prior to and after liftoff. Then the latter half covers events before and after the Hayabusa2’s separation from the launch vehicle.

*Please be aware that the time schedule of the program is subject to change due to progress of the launch operations.

Program contents

Part I
Prior and after liftoff of H-IIA F26/Hayabusa2

  • Introduction of the Hayabusa2 mission including a VTR of its preparation operation
  • Introduction of piggyback payloads
  • Live launch report from the control room

*The scheduled launch time is 1:24 p.m.

Part I broadcast day and time
12:30 p.m. thru 1:45 p.m. (75 minutes) on Nov. 30 (Sun.)

Part II

  • Prior to and after the Hayabusa2’s separation from the launch vehicle

* Images of piggyback payloads’ separation will NOT be broadcast.
* Hayabusa2’s separation is scheduled to take place one hour and 47 minutes after liftoff.

Part II broadcast day and time
3:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (30 minutes) on Nov. 30 (Sun.)

Internet live broadcast

JAXA will distribute our live report through the following Internet channels.

* The copyright of the live broadcast belongs to JAXA.
* Please be aware that a slight time lag up to a few minutes may occur due to the Internet’s characteristics.

We are welcoming support messages at the special site. Please send your messages for the mission, or tweet it. To tweet on Twitter, please attach the hashtag, #hayabusa2.
Click the following link to send a message to JAXA.

“Hayabusa2" Launch Live Broadcast (by H-IIA F26)

Nov. 1, 2014 Updated
BepiColombo MMO system thermal vacuum test

The thermal vacuum test for the Mercury Magnetosphere Orbiter (MMO) of the BepiColombo was performed for three weeks at JAXA Sagamihara Campus. The photos show the transportation of the MMO from a cleanroom to the thermal-vacuum chamber. For more details, pleas check the JAXA digital archives.

BepiColombo MMO system thermal vacuum test

Oct. 27, 2014 Updated
HINODE encountered annular solar eclipse

On Oct. 24, 2014, the Solar Physics Satellite “HINODE” was in a straight line with the Sun and the moon on orbit to observe the annular solar eclipse. JAXA, the National Institutes of Natural Science, the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, and NASA took images of the scene and published the X-ray solar photos and movies of the annular solar eclipse. The HINODE flew into the shadow of the moon (in the antumbra observed during the annular solar eclipse, the diameter of which is 187 km) while flying over the North American continent at an altitude of 680 km at around 6:53 a.m. on Oct. 24 (JST.) This annular solar eclipse was seen only in orbit, and it was observed as a partial solar eclipse from the North American continent (the U.S. and Canada) and other areas on the 23rd (universal time).

The published photos and movies were taken by the X-ray telescope (XRT) on the HINODE. The moon appeared from the west of the sun (on the right side on the images) and moved across the disk of the sun toward the east. The XRT captured the black moon in the shape of a crescent in front of the solar corona brightened by X-ray. The HINODE is over eight years old since its launch on Sept. 23, 2006, and it had met a total eclipse only once before (on March 19, 2007) and an annular eclipse twice (Jan. 4, 2011, and this time) in orbit. It is quite unusual that a satellite encountered a central eclipse in orbit three times.

HINODE encountered annular solar eclipse

Oct. 8, 2014 Updated
TRMM/PR completed the post-mission operation

The Precipitation Radar (PR) aboard the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite completed its post-mission operation on October 7, 2014 (UTC.) The TRMM has been in its 17th year of operation, well exceeding its design life expectancy of three years and two months.

Launched in November 1997, the TRMM was jointly developed by JAXA and NASA aiming at observing tropical precipitation. The PR was the world's first satellite onboard precipitation radar developed by Japan. 3D observation data of precipitation structure and phenomena acquired by the PR brought about various knowledge and findings that have contributed to elucidating global climate change.
The PR mission will continue as it is succeeded by the Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) aboard the Global Precipitation Mission (GPM) core satellite launched on Feb. 28, 2014.

Image of precipitation distribution of Typhoon Phanfone (No.19) taken by the PR just before its operation completion on Oct. 7

TRMM/PR completed the post-mission operation

Sep. 30, 2014 Updated
DAICHI-2 captured Mt. Ontake eruption

Mt. Ontake straddling Nagano and Gifu prefectures erupted at 11:52 a.m. on Sept. 27, 2014. JAXA has been observing the volcanic activity and its impact by earth observation satellites. The DAICHI-2 acquired data on Mt. Ontake on Sept. 27, 28, and 29. As it started regular observation operations in early August and captured some images of Mt. Ontake prior to the eruption, we can compare images taken before and after the incident to study changes and the situation.
The following image is a bird’s-eye view near the peak of Mt. Ontake after the eruption. A depression is found in the area circled yellow.
For more details of the observation result by the DAICHI-2, please refer to the following website.

DAICHI-2 captured Mt. Ontake eruption

Sep. 30, 2014 Updated
New voyager to travel deep into space! Hayabusa2 to be launched on Nov. 30

The launch date and time for the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 26 (H-IIA F26) with the Asteroid Explorer "Hayabusa2" onboard was decided to be at 1:24:48 p.m. on November 30 (Sunday), 2014 (Japan Standard Time)*.
Launch site is Yoshinobu Launch Complex at the Tanegashima Space Center.
* Launch time will be set for each launch day if the launch is delayed.

The latest information about "Hayabusa2" and its launch preparation status will be updated on the "Hayabusa2" project page.
We welcome your support message for the Hayabusa2.
Please send your support messages for the mission, or tweet it including the hashtag #hayabusa2.

New voyager to travel deep into space! Hayabusa2 to be launched on Nov. 30

Sep. 26, 2014 Updated
HISAKI’s first observation of Jupiter’s magnetosphere

The Spectroscopic Planet Observatory for Recognition of Interaction of Atmosphere "HISAKI" launched by the Epsilon Launch Vehicle on Sept. 14, 2013, observed Jupiter’s magnetosphere using its onboard extreme ultraviolet spectroscope (EUV), and captured evidence that hot electrons flow toward Jupiter. This is important proof to support conventional theory.
This research result was published in the American magazine “Science” issued on Sept. 26, 2014.
Image: Evidence for global electron transportation into the Jovian inner magnetosphere. (Click to view larger image)

HISAKI’s first observation of Jupiter’s magnetosphere

Sep. 5, 2014 Updated
Hayabusa2 revealed to the media

The Asteroid Explorer “Hayabusa2” was shown to the media at Sagamihara Campus on August 31, 2014.

The Hayabusa2 is the successor of the Hayabusa, which captured sample particles from an asteroid and returned to the Earth in 2010. By capitalizing on the experience of the Hayabusa, the Hayabusa2 aims at acquiring samples and bringing them back from the C-type asteroid "1999JU3" to elucidate the origin and evolution of the solar system and material for life.

"I am bracing for the new voyage of the Hayabusa2." said Project Manager Kuninaka.
The Hayabusa2 will be transferred to the Tanegashima Space Center for its launch in this winter after its final check there.

Hayabusa2 revealed to the media

Sep. 5, 2014 Updated
NOAA to utilize data acquired by "SHIZUKU"

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has begun to routinely utilize observational data acquired by the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 (AMSR2) aboard the Global Change Observing Mission - Water "SHIZUKU" (GCOM-W) to monitor the land, ocean and atmosphere globally and around the U.S. GCOM-W was launched by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in May 2012 and JAXA started providing the AMSR data to NOAA in February, 2013.
AMSR2, measuring weak microwave emissions from the Earth's surface through clouds data, can characterize storms to better and more precisely understand the internal structure, such as the eye of a hurricane.
This summer NOAA also began testing these data in its numerical weather prediction system, which will improve the initialization of the forecast guidance models. In Japan, the AMSR2 data application into the Numerical Weather Prediction System by the Japan Meteorological Agency started last September to improve precipitation forecast accuracy.

Image: Hurricane "Arthur" on July 3, 2014
Microwave observation (GCOM-W/AMSR2).

NOAA to utilize data acquired by "SHIZUKU"

Sep. 2, 2014 Updated
GPM providing 3D precipitation data

Data acquired by the GPM Core Observatory, the JAXA/NASA joint development mission, has been provided to the public since Sept. 2.
The observatory was subjected to calibration operations to improve its data accuracy, and as the operations were completed, the acquired “GPM products”are now available for public users through the online Earth observation satellite data provision system called “Global Portal System,” or“G-Portal.”
GPM products contribute to more accurate understanding of global precipitation including rain and snow to be utilized for improving weather forecast precision and prediction of typhoon paths through data assimilation among world meteorological organizations including the Japan Meteorological Agency. They are also expected to be useful for preparations for floods in Asian countries.

GPM providing 3D precipitation data

Aug. 11, 2014 Updated
First Image Data Acquisition by CIRC onboard DAICHI-2

Compact Infrared Camera (CIRC) is a technology demonstration payload onboard the DAICHI-2. CIRC is an infrared sensor intended for observing forest fires, volcanoes, and heat island phenomena.
Since the initial functional verification phase (July 4-14, 2014), CIRC has acquired the following images of Earth.
Image: Night image of California (CST 00:20).

First Image Data Acquisition by CIRC onboard DAICHI-2

Jun. 27, 2014 Updated
First Image Data from“DAICHI-2” (ALOS-2)

JAXA acquired images from the PALSAR-2 aboard the "DAICHI-2" (ALOS-2).
The DAICHI-2 was launched on May 24, 2014, and it is currently under initial functional verification. The images were captured during the verification stage.

The DAICHI-2’s observation data is expected to contribute to understanding damages from a disaster, monitoring deforestation, and more efficiently understanding farming areas.
We plan to start offering images to the general public in late November.

Comparison of images taken by PALSAR-2 and DAICHI PALSAR (Urayasu City)

before
after


Comparison of images taken by PALSAR-2 and the synthetic aperture radar aboard airplane (Nishinoshima Island)

before
after


PALSAR-2 movies



First Image Data from“DAICHI-2” (ALOS-2)

Jun. 4, 2014 Updated
IKAROS wakes up from hibernation mode for third time

The IKAROS seemed to wake up from its hibernation mode in mid April, and JAXA searched for it based on its attitude and orbit prediction to receive its radio waves. On May 22 (Thu.), we successfully found the IKAROS, which is flying at a distance of about 230 million kilometers from the Earth. We will continue to receive data from the IKAROS until mid June to confirm its condition and analyze the information.

The IKAROS, launched in May 2010, completed its mission, and is now revolving around the sun about every 10 months. Power generation is insufficient for seven months out of 10 so the IKAROS goes into hibernation mode for this period by shutting down instruments. For the remaining three months, the IKAROS is awake with enough power so that we can receivedata from it.

IKAROS wakes up from hibernation mode for third time

May 29, 2014 Updated
First Integration Test for ASTRO-H (for XRT)

As manufacturing of two Hard X-ray Telescopes (HXTs) and two Soft X-ray Telescopes (SXTs) has been completed and their performance has been confirmed, they are going to be subject to the first integration test. During the test, the telescopes will be mounted on an optical board to make sure that there is no interference with other structures or the satellite bus as well as that no problems arise with operations for controlling the telescope position or angle and operation tools.
Photo: Satellite surrounded by a scaffold

First Integration Test for ASTRO-H (for XRT)

May 27, 2014 Updated
DAICHI-2 critical operation phase successfully completed! Initial function verification starts!

The DAICHI-2 launched from the Tanegashima Space Center on May 24 performed important tasks including L-band synthetic aperture radar deployment after its injection into the orbit, thus its critical operation phase was successfully completed.
The DAICHI-2 will take about two and a half months to verify the function of its onboard equipment and instruments in space. We expect to be able to publish images taken by the DAICHI-2 for the first time in a few weeks to a month, if everything goes as scheduled.

DAICHI-2 critical operation phase successfully completed! Initial function verification starts!

May 24, 2014 Updated
Successful launch of H-IIA F 24 with DAICHI-2 (ALOS-2)!

The launch of the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 24 with The Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 "DAICHI-2" (ALOS-2) aboard was successfully performed at 12:05:14 p.m. on May 24 (Sat.) 2014 (Japan Standard Time).
The launch vehicle flew normally and separated the DAICHI-2 at about 15 minutes and 47 seconds after liftoff. The DAICHI-2 will conduct critical phase operations including deploying the PALSER-2 antenna. We await your support messages!

Successful launch of H-IIA F 24 with DAICHI-2 (ALOS-2)!

May 22, 2014 Updated
DAICHI-2/H-IIA F24 to be launched soon! Live broadcast from 11:15 a.m. on May 24 (Sat.)

The launch time of the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 14 (H-IIA F14) with the DAICHI-2 onboard was set for 12:05:14 p.m. on May 24 (Sat.) 2014 (Japan Standard Time).
JAXA will broadcast a live launch report from the Tanegashima Space Center from 11:15 a.m. on the day. You can watch it through the Internet at home. Please do not miss this event!
Please send your support messages for the mission, or tweet it including the hashtag #daichi2.

DAICHI-2/H-IIA F24 to be launched soon! Live broadcast from 11:15 a.m. on May 24 (Sat.)

May 1, 2014 Updated
DAICHI-2 (ALOS-2) revealed to the media at TNSC

On March 28 (Fri.), the Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 “DAICHI-2”(ALOS-2) was revealed to the press at the Spacecraft Test and Assembly Building 2 (STA-2) at the Tanegashima Space Center (TNSC.)
Project manager Shinichi Suzuki, who has been involved in the project since the DAICHI, the predecessor of the DAICHI-2, commented, “We have developed high-quality radar and data transmission technologies this time. Whenever our test results did not seem logical, we discussed the results in cooperation with the manufacturer and related workers to find a solution. Now, I would like to brace myself for the launch."

The DAICHI-2 will be launched by the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 24 on May 24 (Sat.) after going through final preparations. Once the DAICHI-2 is launched, we hope it will work hard for us without coming back to the Earth again.
DAICHI-2, have a safe trip under the best preparations!

Support messages for the DAICHI-2 launch are welcomed at the special site.

DAICHI-2 (ALOS-2) revealed to the media at TNSC

Mar. 31, 2014 Updated
DAICHI-2 (ALOS-2) transportation to Tanegashima

We would like to report to you the transportation of the DAICHI-2 (ALOS-2) from the Mitsubishi Electric's Kamakura Works, where its assembly and tests were conducted, to the Tanegashima Space Center (TNSC).
Preparation for the transportation began around noon on Feb. 21.After midnight, or in the very early morning of the 22nd, the DAICHI, packed in a container, was loaded onto a large truck to go to Kawasaki Port.
The container was then placed on a boat at the port to make a 56-hour trip by sea to Shimama Port on Tanegashima Island.
The container unloaded from the ship waited on a large tractor till late at night when traffic became lighter, and it was transported to the TNSC.
The DAICH-2 was moved into the Spacecraft Test and Assembly Building 2 (STA2) at the TNSC and unpacked there. The satellite will undergo various checks there.

DAICHI-2 (ALOS-2) transportation to Tanegashima

Mar. 25, 2014 Updated
First Images Available from JAXA-NASA Global Rain and Snowfall Satellite

JAXA and the NASA have released the first images captured by their newest Earth-observing satellite, GPM Core Observatory, which launched into space Feb. 28 (JST).

The images show precipitation falling inside a March 10 cyclone over the northwest Pacific Ocean, east of Japan. The data were collected by the GPM Core Observatory's two instruments: JAXA's Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR), which imaged a three-dimensional cross-section of the storm; and, NASA's GPM Microwave Imager (GMI), which observed precipitation across a broad swath.

First Images Available from JAXA-NASA Global Rain and Snowfall Satellite

Mar. 20, 2014 Updated
AKARI made a step to a key to understand the material evolution in the universe

A team of astronomers based at the University of Tokyo has made a significant step in better understanding the material evolution of the universe. Led by Ms Tamami I. Mori, a research fellow for the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, the study may help to give new insights into complex carbon chemistry in the galaxy.
This work by Mori et al. has been recently published in issue 784 of the Astrophysical Journal.

AKARI made a step to a key to understand the material evolution in the universe

Mar. 14, 2014 Updated
Launch date set for DAICHI-2 on H-IIA F24!

The launch date and time for the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 24 (H-IIA F24) with the Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 "DAICHI-2" (ALOS-2) onboard was decided to be at around 12:05 p.m. thru 12:20 p.m. (JST) on May 24 (Sat.,) 2014 (Japan Standard Time.)
The "DAICHI-2" (ALOS-2) is a follow-on mission from the “DAICHI” (ALOS). It is equipped with the L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (PALSAR-2), and its major mission objectives are to secure the safety of people’s lives and to solve global environmental problems.
The latest information about the DAICHI-2 and its launch preparation status will be updated on this page.

Launch date set for DAICHI-2 on H-IIA F24!

Feb. 28, 2014 Updated
Successful launch of H-IIA F23 with GPM core ovservatory aboard!

The launch of the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 23 with the core observatory for the Global Precipitation Measurement mission aboard was successfully performed at 3:37 a.m. on February 28 (Fri.) 2014 (JST).
The launch vehicle flew normally and separated the GPM core observatory at about 15 minutes and 57 seconds after liftoff. The GPM core observatory will conduct critical phase operations.
We await your support messages!

Successful launch of H-IIA F23 with GPM core ovservatory aboard!

Feb. 24, 2014 Updated
Precise Global Digital 3D Map "ALOS World 3D" Homepage

JAXA is starting to process the precise global digital 3D map using some 3 million data images acquired by the Advanced Land Observing Satellite "DAICHI" (ALOS). The digital 3D map to be compiled this time has the world's best precision of five meters in spatial resolution with five meters height accuracy that enables us to express land terrain all over the world. Hence its strong character will prove useful in various areas including mapping, damage prediction of a natural disaster, water resource research etc.

Precise Global Digital 3D Map "ALOS World 3D" Homepage

Feb. 3, 2014 Updated
NOAA utilizes SHIZUKU data for typhoon monitoring

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that it will utilize observation data acquired by the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 (AMSR2) aboard the Global Change Observation Mission 1-Water “SHIZUKU” (GCOM-W1) from June 1, 2014, to monitor the birth and development of a tropical low pressure system.
JAXA and NOAA signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on GCOM data application in 2011, and NOAA uses such data while transmitting AMSR2 data through its ground station to JAXA.
While the inside structure of a typhoon cannot be clarified through cloud images taken by visible rays or infrared light observations, AMSR2’s microwave observations can clearly capture images through clouds. When the Philippines was harshly damaged by the 30th typhoon in November 2013, the NOAA Hurricane Center utilized AMSR2’s observation data to specify its location and precipitation volume and to analyze its structure. As a result of the application at that time, AMSR2’s observation data was recognized as suitable and useful for measuring a strong typhoon such as the 30th typhoon last year thus improving weather forecast precision.
JAXA keeps working hard to develop the means to apply its precious satellite observation data in useful ways.

NOAA utilizes SHIZUKU data for typhoon monitoring

Jan. 17, 2014 Updated
GPM core observatory revealed to the media

On January 17 (Fri.), the GPM core observatory was shown to the media in the Spacecraft Test and Assembly Building 2 (STA2) at the Tanegashima Space Center (TNSC).
The observatory was transported to the TNSC from the U.S. on Nov. 27, and its launch preparations at the launch site will continue ahead of its departure to space sometime between 3:07 a.m. and 5:07 a.m. on February 28 by the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 23.
Updated information about the preparation status in a timely manner is available on the GPM/DPR special site. Your continued support is appreciated!

GPM core observatory revealed to the media

Jan. 10, 2014 Updated
Instantaneous heater in space

A research group led by Researcher Hiroya Yamaguchi at the NASA Goddard Space Center captured, for the first time in the world, proof of instantaneous electron heating to about 200 million degrees Celsius by shock waves of“Tycho Brahe's Supernova remnant” generated by an explosion 422 years ago.
This finding is an epoch-making achievement attained thanks to the combination of high-quality data obtained by the X-ray astronomy satellite “Suzaku” and the theoretical technique developed by the research group, who took full advantage of the latest physics. This development takes a huge step forward toward the clarification of “collisionless electron heating”, which constantly exists in space. This achievement was published in the American science magazine “The Astrophysical Journal” (Vol. 780 issued on Jan 10, 2014) as well as introduced in other media including “Astronomy.”

Instantaneous heater in space

Dec. 2, 2013 Updated
AMSR-E Slow Rotation Data has been released

The AMSR-E automatically halted its observations and rotation on October 4, 2011 (UTC) due to increased rotation friction. After then NASA and JAXA began to analyze the situation and had been seeking for the way to restart AMSR-E observation. And on December 4, 2012 (UTC,) the AMSR-E restarted its observations and rotation with slow rotation (2 rotations per minute). JAXA completed initial radiometric and geometric correction for slow rotation data, and now AMSR-E Slow Rotation Data is available to public users.
This data is useful for users who cross-calibrate AMSR-E with other radiometers and who try to research using new feature by slow rotation and so on. This data is not JAXA's standard product. AMSR2 Standard Product is available for general user.

image: Observed area with slow rotation

The detail is described in the following page.

AMSR-E Slow Rotation Data has been released

Nov. 28, 2013 Updated
Satoshi Kogure Awarded with Leadership Award in GPS World 2013

Satoshi Kogure, mission manager of the Satellite System Technology Unit, was awarded with GPS World 2013 Leadership Award (Satellite Division), hosted by GPS World.
The award is given annually to the most distinguished figure in the Departments of Satellite, Signals, Services, and Product. The voting process was taken by GPS editors and 40 experts.
Kogure took part in the initiation of Multi-gnss Advanced Demonstration tool for Orbit -and-Clock Analysis (MADOCA) since 2001, in the development of the first Quasi-Zenith Satellite MICHIBIKI, which was launched in 2010. He has also led the technological development of GNSS such as GPS and Galileo in cooperation with other pertinent countries, and has promoted the application of the satellite technologies.
The ceremony was held on September 19, 2014 at Hermitage Hotel, Nashville, TN, USA.

Satoshi Kogure Awarded with Leadership Award in GPS World 2013

Nov. 20, 2013 Updated
Hayabusa2 Small Carry-on Impactor undergoes test

Hayabusa2’s Small Carry-on Impactor (SCI) underwent a test in October, 2013.
The SCI is a device to create an artificial crater of the asteroid 1999JU3, which the Hayabusa 2 will travel toward. By making and observing an artificial crater, we can acquire data not only about the surface but also about the inside of the asteroid. In addition, by sampling near the crater, we can collect inside samples of the asteroid.
Hayabusa2 applies a method to throw a metal projectile against the asteroid with high speed to create an artificial crater. Through the test this time, we confirmed the accelerating part of the projectile while aiming to verify if its speed, configuration, and thrown direction precision met the design when the pyrotechnics, which were comparable to those of actual ones for the flight, were ignited to set off the projectile.
The test results were very impressive as the speed and configuration were almost as designed, and the direction precision was also good as the SCI precisely hit a target that was 100 meters away. We were able to successfully complete the performance confirmation test of the SCI pyrotechnic part.

Hayabusa2 SCI test [JAXA Digital Archives]

Hayabusa2 Small Carry-on Impactor undergoes test

Oct. 31, 2013 Updated
Suzaku clarifies explosive period of heavy elements for first time

Researchers from Stanford University and JAXA elucidated through the observation by the X-ray Astronomy Satellite “Suzaku” that there was a period about 10 billion years ago when heavy elements including iron were spread throughout the universe, and it was confirmed that those spread elements during that explosive period are the origin of most heavy elements currently existing in the universe.
This achievement was published in the British science magazine “Nature” on Oct. 31, 2013.

Suzaku clarifies explosive period of heavy elements for first time

Sep. 15, 2013 Updated
HISAKI (SPRINT-A) Orbit Calculation Result and Critical Operation Period Completion

JAXA confirmed that the Spectroscopic Planet Observatory for Recognition of Interaction of Atmosphere "HISAKI" (SPRINT-A) was injected into the planned orbit after its orbit calculation.
We have now completed the critical operation period for the HISAKI (SPRINT-A) after we successfully performed essential events including the planned orbit insertion, solar array paddle deployment, and sun acquisition.

HISAKI (SPRINT-A) Orbit Calculation Result and Critical Operation Period Completion

Jun. 26, 2013 Updated
Particles captured on asteroid Itokawa on exhibition.

JAXA is exhibiting particles brought back to the Earth by the asteroid explorer “Hayabusa,” which returned in June 2010, at the National Museum of Nature and Science and at the Sagamihara City Museum thanks to their cooperation.

- National Museum of Nature and Science Permanent Exhibit
From July 17
Between 9:00 a.m. thru 5:00 p.m.
9:00 a.m. thru 8:00 p.m. on Fridays

- Sagamihara City Museum Limited-time Only Exhibit
From July 17 thru 28
Between 9:30 a.m. thru 5:00 p.m.
* To look through an optical microscope, advanced reservations or getting a numbered ticket is required.
* We can accommodate 840 people every day.
* You can look at the particles through the TV monitor in the exhibition room during the period when the museum is open.

Particles captured on asteroid Itokawa on exhibition.

Jan. 30, 2013 Updated
Agreement signed with JMA on demonstration supporting disaster medicine

JAXA and the Japan Medical Association (JMA) signed an agreement to jointly conduct application experiments of the Wideband Internetworking Engineering Test and Demonstration satellite “KIZUNA” to support disaster medicine, after JAXA and JMA studied the utilization method of the KIZUNA in support activities and measures at the time of a large-scale disaster.
For disaster medicine support activities, it is imperative to understand the actual conditions of shelters, and the sick and wounded at a disaster-stricken area, then to share such information with all parties concerned. In the case of a large-scale disaster, the usual communication environment may be in total chaos.
In July, 2012, JMA and JAXA held demonstrations with scenarios of a huge earthquake. As a result, the agreement this time was signed aiming at establishing a more useful information sharing method at the time of disaster via the Internet satellite under the common recognition of supporting as many disaster-stricken people as possible. We will further work hard to provide helpful support at the time of a large-scale disaster.

Agreement signed with JMA on demonstration supporting disaster medicine

Jan. 11, 2013 Updated
Large Magellanic Clouds near-infrared spectroscopic catalog

JAXA released the"Large Magellanic Clouds (LMC) near-infrared spectroscopic catalogue" to the world that was compiled by observation data acquired by the infrared imaging satellite “AKARI.” The positional light source catalog released this time is one of the largest-scale LMC catalogs, and the first data as a “spectroscopic” catalog in the world. The catalog, which categorizes celestial bodies in the LMC, is significant data for greatly advancing research on newly born stars as well as already developed ones.

Large Magellanic Clouds near-infrared spectroscopic catalog

Dec. 27, 2012 Updated
"SPAISE" (Space-based AIS Experiment) compleded its normal oprational phase, off to late use phase

On November 16, JAXA completed the normal operational use of the experiments of the AIS (Automatic Identification System) receiver aboard Small Demonstration Satellite-4 (SDS-4).
In its normal phase, the technological experiments of the AIS receiver were carried out and a total of 380,000 signals was acquired under the various conditions, including the variations of satellite parameters, of the number of ships and of climate.
Since November 17, the SDS-4 has entered into its late use phase, where further research and analysis into the signals are expected to be applied in the following areas; ship tracking with a view to grasping the status of the operations of the ships, marine environmental conservation by spotting the intrusion into the sanctuaries, and maritime security using the obtained data for rescue operation.
Image: Captured of the operation of the SDS-4

"SPAISE" (Space-based AIS Experiment) compleded its normal oprational phase, off to late use phase

Dec. 20, 2012 Updated
MICHIBIKI: Current status of rubidium atomic clock 2

The First Quasi-Zenith Satellite “MICHIBIKI” is equipped with two rubidium atomic clocks, Clock 1 for the operation system and Clock 2 for the spare system, to construct the redundant structure. The former is currently used for generating positioning signals.
At 2:40 a.m. on Dec. 19 (Japan Standard Time), we found an anomaly in Clock 2, and we have not been able to restore its normal operations. We keep generating and providing positioning signals normally using Clock 1 while investigating the anomaly cause and studying countermeasures.

MICHIBIKI: Current status of rubidium atomic clock 2

Dec. 6, 2012 Updated
Public release of carbon dioxide flux estimates based on observation data by IBUKI

The data of global CO2 fluxes on a monthly and regional basis for the one-year period between June 2009 and May 2010 has been publicly distributed for the first time in the world. These flux values were estimated by combining ground-based CO2 monitoring data and CO2 concentration data acquired through the improved observation method of the Greenhouse gases Observing SATellite "IBUKI." (GOSAT). The calculation method has been improved for the concentration of greenhouse gases. The usefulness of the concentration data acquired by the satellite was quantitatively verified.
In order to obtain better CO2 flux estimates, we will continue to refine the data processing algorithms for the retrieval of CO2 concentrations from GOSAT data and the estimation of CO2 fluxes.

Public release of carbon dioxide flux estimates based on observation data by IBUKI

Dec. 3, 2012 Updated
Certificate of appreciation to Japan and US TRMM scientists from JAXA and NASA

Certificate of appreciation was given to eight Japan and US TRMM scientists for their outstanding contribution to the scientific activities, applications and accomplishments of 15 successful years of the TRMM, from Dr. Masanori Homma, Executive Director, JAXA, and Dr. Michael Freilich, Director, Earth Science Division, NASA.
Photo: Dr. Okamoto (right) received the certificate of appreciation from Dr. Kakar (left).

Certificate of appreciation to Japan and US TRMM scientists from JAXA and NASA

Nov. 30, 2012 Updated
IKAROS world record certified!

The Small Solar Power Sail Demonstrator “IKAROS” and its two separated cameras “DCAM1”and “DCAM2” have been recognized by GUINNESS World Record (TM). The IKAROS was awarded as the world's first solar sail spacecraft between planets, and the two separated cameras were recognized for the smallest size of a spacecraft flying between planets.

Left: Osamu Mori, IKAROS Demonstration Team chief
Right: Hirotaka Sawada, engineer (in charge of developing the DCAM)

 IKAROS world record certified!

Nov. 29, 2012 Updated
Cloud Profiling Radar (CPR) engineering model

On Nov. 27, JAXA revealed to the media at the Tsukuba Space Center an engineering model* of the Cloud Profiling Radar (CPR), which will be aboard the Earth Clouds, Aerosols, and Radiation Explorer (Earth CARE).
The CPR is a sensor to observe cloud distribution by emitting radiation to the ground and receiving its reflection wave. It is under development by JAXA in cooperation with the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT).

*An engineering model is manufactured in almost the same manner as the actual flight model in order to test technical matters. With the engineering model, we can perform a test under harsher conditions than the actual flight environment to acquire necessary data for establishing mechanical and electric designs, test methods, and the manufacturing process. After confirming if electric, structural and thermal designs of this engineering model properly perform their functions, we will move to the next development phase of flight model manufacturing.

Cloud Profiling Radar (CPR) engineering model

Nov. 19, 2012 Updated
HINODE captured total solar eclipse over Australia

The Solar Physics Satellite “HINODE” captured the scene of the total solar eclipse in Australia. Its onboard X-ray telescope (XRT) took images of the sun gradually being covered by the moon at around 5:25 a.m. on Nov. 14, 2012 (Japan Standard Time), while the HINODE was flying over northern Australia. The moon appeared from the south, then moved in front of the sun toward the north western direction. The images show that the black moon was traveling with a bright solar corona behind it.
The largest eclipsed area observed by the HINODE was 99.3%, thus it was only one step shy of the total eclipse. The HINODE is flying very fast, at about 27,000 km per hour, thus its acquired data this time covers a portion of the partial sun eclipse for about 17 minutes. The HINODE also met the sun eclipse over the South American Continent four hours later, but its observation data there was also a partial eclipse.
The HINODE is also supporting total eclipse observations from Australia by measuring ultraviolet ray emissions from the corona using its onboard Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) Imaging Spectrometer.

HINODE captured total solar eclipse over Australia

Oct. 25, 2012 Updated
KIKU No.8 starts data transmission test from GPS tsunami gauge

JAXA started a data transmission test from a GPS tsunami gauge through the Engineering Test Satellite-VIII KIKU No.8 (ETS-III) on Oct. 24 in cooperation with the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), Hitachi Zosen Corporation, the Earthquake Research Institute of The University of Tokyo, and Kochi national College of Technology.
During the test, wave observation information acquired by a GPS tsunami gauge set on a buoy about 40 kms offshore of Muroto Point, Kochi Prefecture, is sent to shore via the KIKU No.8. If the test is successful, leading to such a transmission becoming practically available, it is expected to be helpful as it can continuously provide accurate tsunami data received offshore not only in Japan but all over the world when a ground GPS tsunami gauge is damaged due to power and/or power line failure caused by an earthquake or tsunami.

KIKU No.8 starts data transmission test from GPS tsunami gauge

Oct. 17, 2012 Updated
Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2: System thermal vacuum test

The thermal vacuum test for the Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 "ALOS-2" started on Oct. 16th at the Tsukuba Space Center. It is scheduled to be completed in late November.
The thermal vacuum test is to verify if electric functions and thermal controls of the satellite properly work in the 13mφ space chamber that simulates the space environment.
The photo here was taken on Oct. 3rd. It shows the satellite's main body preparing for the test.

Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2: System thermal vacuum test

Sep. 10, 2012 Updated
KODAMA on-orbit operations mark 10 years

The KODAMA, which was launched on Sept. 10, 2002, has marked its 10-year anniversary. The KODAMA succeeded in a data relay experiment with the world's fastest speed of 278 Mbps using the Advanced Land Observing Satellite "DAICHI," and has been contributing to global land observations and disaster monitoring with the DAICHI by utilizing KODAMA’s broad view area and real-time and large-volume data relay capacity. Some 95% of DAICHI's 6.54 million scenes (or almost one PB of observation data) were received on earth through KODAMA's relays.
Also, in these 10 years, the KODAMA successfully conducted data relay tests with six different spacecraft including the International Space Station (ISS) Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo,” and its operating rate for experiments has reached as high as 99%.
As we expect more data relay satellite utilization plans in the future, we continue to operate the KODAMA while preparing to maintain our country's satellite data relay capability.

KODAMA on-orbit operations mark 10 years

Jun. 6, 2012 Updated
SDS-4 received Automatic Identification System (AIS) from ships

The AIS receiver aboard the Small Demonstration Satellite-4 (SDS-4) launched by the H-IIA Launch Vehicle on May 18 was confirmed to receive automatic identification system (AIS) from ships cruising around Japan. The SDS-4 was launched as a secondary payload with the main payload, the Global Change Observation Mission 1st- Water “SHIZUKU”.
We will continue our engineering verification of the satellite AIS receiver by receiving AIS not only from Japan’s adjoining seas but also in other waters. In addition, we will cooperate with the Japan Coast Guard, the Kanto Regional Development Bureau, and the National Institute for Land and Infrastructure Management to study satellite AIS data applications.
Image: AIS signal acquisition image by Space-based AIS Experiment (SPAISE)

SDS-4 received Automatic Identification System (AIS) from ships

Jan. 31, 2012 Updated
AKATSUKI current status and future operation

JAXA decided to carry out orbit control of the AKATSUKI using its liquid-fuel thrusters for altitude control (or the reaction control subsystem, RCS.) Based on this decision, almost all of the unnecessary oxidizer was discarded in Oct. 2011. As a result, the satellite became lighter, and remaining fuel can be more efficiently used for orbit control.
In November 2011, orbit control operation at perihelion was performed three times using the RCS for the future rendezvous with Venus, and the orbit has been shifted as planned. The AKATSUKI is now flying on an orbit where it can meet with Venus in 2015(*).
The satellite has to be exposed to the extremely harsh thermal environment every time it passes through the perihelion until it is injected into the Venus orbit; therefore, we are operating the AKATSUKI with great care to maintain its condition.

(*) It is desirable to inject the satellite into the Venus orbit in 2016 from a scientific observation point of view because we can put the satellite in an orbit that is closer to the equator in 2016. However, as we take the satellite’s operational challenges after its design life into consideration, we keep comparing the insertion in 2015 and that in 2016 to finalize our plan in order to maximize our observation achievements while monitoring the satellite’s status.

Dec. 21, 2011 Updated
ASTRO-G project suspension

JAXA decided to suspend the Radio-Astronomical Satellite "ASTRO-G" project because we found a technological difficulty for a high-precision 9-meter deployment antenna, which is the key device for observations. The satellite has been developed to achieve high-resolution astronomical observations. The currently available antenna specular accuracy does not allow us to gain the most important scientific results. Also, even if we downgrade our scientific target to an attainable range, it became clear that we require far more time and money than for the original plan.
Considering all the above conditions, we have decided to halt the project.

Oct. 20, 2011 Updated
Last thank-you message to DAICHI from Japan Coast Guard

The land observing satellite "DAICHI," which completed its operations in May 2011, had contributed to the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) by providing satellite images of ocean ice for a long time.
On Oct. 18, the JCG sent a laser beam as a last message directly to the DAICHI from its Shimosato hydrographic observatory, where they conduct satellite laser ranging. By doing so, they would like to show their appreciation to the satellite. The observatory then received a reflection signal from the DAICHI's reflection prism to confirm that thebeam reached the satellite.
The DAICHI must be very pleased to accept the JCG's gratitude.

Last thank-you message to DAICHI from Japan Coast Guard

Jul. 11, 2011 Updated
GCOM-C1 structural model sinusoidal vibration test

JAXA conducted a sinusoidal vibration test for the GCOM-C1 using a structural model. This test using simulated vibrations verifies if the satellite’s structure and onboard equipment can bear sinusoidal vibrations, which are generated at the time of launch. The test was successful, and we confirmed that the satellite is strong enough. The structural model is a mechanically mocked satellite for verifying the tolerance of the satellite’s main body and onboard equipment not only against sinusoidal vibrations at the time of launch, but also against other factors including the acoustic environment, shock at the time of separation from the launch vehicle, and impact of the solar array paddle deployment.

GCOM-C1 structural model sinusoidal vibration test

May 26, 2011 Updated
AJISAI received the Tsuboi Prize of the Geodetic Society of Japan (Group Prize)

The 25-year operation and precious observation data of the Experimental Geodetic Satellite "AJISAI" (EGS) was highly evaluated by the Geodetic Society of Japan, and, on May 23, 2011, the Tsuboi Prize (Group Prize) was awarded to a group led by former space verification team project manager Eiichi Hashimoto. The group consists of JAXA, the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), the Japan Coast Guard (JCG), Geospatial Information Authority of Japan (GSI), and Hitotsubashi University. The AJISAI was launched on August 13, 1986, to establish the Japan's geodetic datum. The Tsuboi Prize of the Geodetic Society of Japan (Group Prize) is awarded to a group that has made outstanding contributions to geodetic studies as organizational activities are particularly important for geodetic research.

AJISAI's major achievements

  • Contributions to updating a nautical chart of Japan's neighboring waters and determining locations of islets (JCG's original objectives)
  • Communications and positioning experiments and technological developments (NICT, Hitotsubashi Univ.)
  • Research on satellite rotation (GSI)
  • Acquired technology for accurate orbit determination by laser ranging (JAXA)
  • Decided the 36th to 50th gravity field model (world research institutes, such as Jet Propulsion Laboratory, JPL, and Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, DLR)
  • Contributed to construct the International Terrestrial Reference Frames (ITRF)
  • Determined the absolute value of the velocity field for plate tectonics motion thanks to the long-term motion analysis of 25 years by the AJISAI
  • Recently verified that the core inside the Earth is vibrating through the analysis combined with the LAGIOS1/2 . The result of the verified fact was incorporated into the new earth rotation model (IERS2010.)

AJISAI received the Tsuboi Prize of the Geodetic Society of Japan (Group Prize)

Jul. 5, 2010 Updated
Global distribution of olivine from the lunar interior and its origin revealed by KAGUYA

Spectral Profiler onboard on Japanese lunar explorer SELENE/Kaguya revealed the global distribution of olivine on the lunar surface and its origin. This new finding provides us important insight into the Moon’s origin and evolution. This result was published in the British scientific journal "Nature Geosciences" on July 4, 2010.

Global distribution of olivine from the lunar interior and its origin revealed by KAGUYA

Sep. 24, 2009 Updated
KIRARI: Signals stopped; successful operation ends

At 2:48 p.m. on Sept. 24, 2009, signal transmissions to the Optical Inter-orbit Communications Engineering Test Satellite "KIRARI" (OICETS) were terminated, and its operation was completed. The KIRARI was initially scheduled to be operated in orbit for about one year, but it survived for four years, much longer than the original plan. The KIRARI was launched by the Dnepr Launch Vehicle from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, on Aug. 24, 2005, and made many achievements in the space optical communication area including bi-directional optical inter-satellite communication and links between a lower-orbit satellite and a ground optical station.

KIRARI: Signals stopped; successful operation ends

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