JAXA President Monthly Regular Press Conference

Date and time: 11:00 to 11:40 on April 17 (Wed.)
Venue: JAXA Tokyo Office Presentation Room (B1 floor)
MC: Koji Terada, JAXA Public Affairs Department Director


1. Organization
2. International Space Station (ISS)
3. Others
4. Symposiums and town meetings
5. Future schedule

1. Organization

◦ Start of the third mid-term plan
JAXA started its third mid-term plan from April, 2013. JAXA has now been described as a core implementation organization that technologically supports overall government space development and utilization, thus in the third mid-term plan its coverage areas have become broader compared to in the second one with some additional fields such as contribution to security and safety, and strengthening industrial competitiveness.
Therefore, we will conduct our projects, especially new ones, carefully following the mid-term plan while fully cooperating with related government agencies and organizations as well as private operators and universities in order to answer people's expectations.

◦ Organization change
Based on the third mid-term plan, JAXA released a review of our organization on April 1, 2013. Firstly, we newly established the Institute of Aeronautical Technology which is in charge of all aviation related research and development coherently from the basics to technological verification. Secondly, our International Relations Department was enhanced to become the International Relations and Research Department in order to enhance the function of international research and analysis. For that purpose, Research and Analysis Division was newly established within the department to exclusively study domestic and overseas space-related trends. Thirdly, the Public Affairs (PA) Department is now in charge of all public affairs and public relations activities of JAXA that used to be separately conducted by each large-scale field centers such as the Tsukuba Space Center and Sagamihara Campus. By converging all the activities into the PA Dept., we have strengthened its function.

◦ Major projects this fiscal year
In the space field, we plan to conduct four launches including that of the first flight of the new solid-fuel launch vehicle "Epsilon" this fiscal year. The Epsilon launch will be the first for a large solid-fuel launch vehicle in seven years. Looking at the aviation field, we plan to carry out the second phase test of the Drop test for Simplified Evaluation of Non-symmetrically Distributed sonic boom" (D-SEND#2, low sonic boom design concept demonstration) project

The following is more detailed information on the projects scheduled for this fiscal year.

(Space field)
- Cargo supply to the International Space Station by KOUNOTORI4
- Launch of the first Epsilon Launch Vehicle loaded with Spectroscopic Planet Observatory for Recognition of Interaction of Atmosphere (SPRINT-A), which aims at elucidating the interaction between solar wind and planets' atmospheres or magnetospheres by extreme ultraviolet observations.
- Astronaut Wakata to begin his long stay mission at the International Space Station as the first Japanese commander
- Launch of the DAICHI-2 aiming to contribute to disaster prevention, preparation, and countermeasures, as well as to national land management, ocean observations and understanding of changes in forests with its improved observation functions through the renovated L-band synthetic aperture radar.
- Launch of the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM)/ Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR), a joint international cooperation mission with NASA aiming at higher accuracy and frequency of observations for three dimensional all globe precipitation.

(Aviation field)
- The three-dimensional aerodynamic lifting body dropping test for the 3D lifting body dropping test for the second phase of the "Drop test for Simplified Evaluation of Non-symmetrically Distributed sonic boom" (D-SEND#2, low sonic boom design concept demonstration) project.

2. International Space Station

◦ Soyuz TMA-06M (32S) returned to earth
At around 0:06 p.m. on March 16 (Japan Standard Time), the Soyuz TMA-06M Spacecraft (32S)*1 landed in the Republic of Kazakhstan with the 33rd and 34th expedition crews (Astronaut Kevin Ford of the US, Cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarellkin of Russia) aboard.
The spacecraft carried samples of tissues acquired from six medaka fish that were treated and preserved from an experiment on the "Effect of microgravity on osteoclasts and the analysis of the gravity sensing system in medaka fish (Medaka osteoclast)"*2 conducted at the Japanese Experiment Module "Kibo." The samples were retrieved after landing.

*1 32S: It's the 32nd Soyuz mission to the ISS.
*2 Medaka Osteoclast
Young medaka fish or killifish (Oryzia latipes) were kept in an experiment device in an aquarium environment (Aquatic Habitat:, AQH) at the ISS for two months. After a certain period in space, the medaka were chemically fixed. Tissue and cell samples of medaka were treated and preserved at the beginning and the end of the experiment. These samples were retrieved when they came back to the Earth, and tissues and cells surrounding teeth and bones are under structure analysis and gene expression profiling. (Principal Investigator (PI) Professor Akira Kudo of Department of Biological Information, Graduate School of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Tokyo Institute of Technology.)

◦ Second Dragon Spacecraft returned to Earth
A capsule (pressurized part) of the second official mission of the Dragon Spacecraft (SpaceX-2 Commercial Resupply Services flight2: SpX-2/CRS-2) splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 1:34 a.m. on March 27 (JST.) We retrieved samples from the experiment of "Growth of Homogeneous SiGe Crystals in Microgravity by the TLZ method (Hicari Experiment)"*3 and also the samples from the Medaka Osteoclast experiment (genes preserved from 12 medakas). Both experiments were performed at the Kibo of the ISS.
The samples are currently being analyzed by respective experiment teams led by their principal investigators. We expect that the analysis results will be published as an academic thesis.

*3 Hicari Experiment
Using a gradient heating furnace (GHF), the experiment aims at proving the validity of the Traveling Liquidus Zone method (TLZ method), a crystal growth method developed by JAXA, while acquiring basic data for high performance semiconductor development. (PI: Senior Researcher Kyoichi Kinoshita, Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, JAXA)

3. Others

◦ Message Campaign for Epsilon Launch Vehicle
JAXA started a campaign to collect messages from the public to be loaded onto the Epsilon Launch Vehicle. Messages will become part of the mark on the Launch Vehicle. (Due to the mark design, messages may be selected through a lottery if we receive more than enough messages.) Your participation is highly anticipated.
* Campaign period: April 10 through May 7

◦ Hayabusa2 Message Campaign
JAXA has also started the message campaign to collect names and messages from the public for the Hayabusa2, which is scheduled for launch in Japan Fiscal Year 2014. Names will be recorded on the target marker, and messages, collections of messages, and illustrations will be on the re-entry capsule. We are welcoming your participation like for the Epsilon message campaign.
* Campaign period: April 10 (noon) thru July 16

◦ Receiving the science and technology awards from the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan (MEXT)
JAXA received the science and technology awards of the JFY 2012 from MEXT for the two research projects, research on the ultra-wide angle Compton camera based on an application of X-ray astronomy satellite technology and research on the vilification of solar power sail by IKAROS.

◦ Donations
JAXA has started a simpler donation system through the Internet and other means since April last year in order to widely welcome and accept JAXA supporters' kind assistance. We are grateful that many people expressed support to JAXA. We would like you all to continue to provide us with assistance for JAXA's further development.
* As of the end of JFY 2012: Donations through the Internet: 35,427,200 yen by 5,509 parties
Donation Box: 2,155,443 yen

4. Symposiums and town meetings

JAXA has held symposiums and open-house events all over Japan to facilitate people's understanding and support.

  • On March 16, "The 91st JAXA Town Meeting in Science and Technology Festa" was held at the Kyoto Pulse Plaza Inamori Hall (Kyoto city, Kyoto Pref.) About 200 people attended the meeting.
  • On March 21, the "The fifth Symposium of the International Space Station / Kibo Utilization Outcomes - Experiment of protein" was held at the UDX GALLERY in Akihabara (Chiyoda ward, Tokyo,) and about 120 people participated. (526 people viewed it through the Internet.)
  • On March 22, JAXA piggyback satellite workshop at Hitotsubashi Hall in Chiyoda ward, Tokyo) 116 people visited us.
  • On April 13, JAXA held the "Space Science Lecture and Movie" at the Yotsuya Kumin Hall (Shinjuku ward, Tokyo), and 398 people attended.

5. Future Schedule

  • April 20: Spring Special Open House at the Tsukuba Space Center (Tsukuba city, Ibaraki Pref.)
  • April 21: Open House at Chofu Aerospace Center (Chofu, Tokyo)
  • April 21: Open House at Kakuda Space Center (Kakuda city, Miyagi)