JAXA President Monthly Regular Press Conference

Date and time: 11:00 to 11:40 on July 18 (Thu.)
Venue: JAXA Tokyo Office Presentation Room (B1 floor)
MC: Koji Terada, JAXA Public Affairs Department Director

◦ Opening statement
In the last month, I visited space agencies in Europe and the United States to have an opportunity to talk to their leaders, although the time was very limited. Since assuming the JAXA president's post, I had been feeling an urgent need to see other spacefaring countries' agencies with my own eyes.

In mid-June, I first visited Europe to talk to Director General Dordain of the European Space Agency (ESA), Director General Popovkin of the Russian Federal Space Agency (ROSCOSMOS), Chief Executive Parker of the UK Space Agency, and Chairman Worner of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), respectively. Then I went to the European Space Research and Technology Center (ESTEC), a core R&D center of the ESA, in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and its R&D facility in Koln, Germany, for inspections.

Regarding the budget scale in Europe, ESA's budget is about three times of that of JAXA. In addition, in the case of Europe, each country promotes its own space policy, and the French space budget (1.6 billion euros) and the German budget (1.21 billion euros) are tantamount to that of JAXA. The budgets of other European countries are smaller; still each country advances its own space policy based on its budget.

During my visit in Europe, my talks with ESA Director General Dordain were most impressive. He told me that space development entailed two aspects, international cooperation on one side and some sort of competition on the other, to move it forward. From my experience, this is true in most industries and in other fields. I very much empathized with him as I always believe that healthy development is facilitated based on cooperation and competition.

Talking about my impressions of the R&D facilities of each agency, I felt that R&D has been steadily and firmly progressing in Europe. The method of R&D progress there is similar to that of JAXA. Another impressive point is that some of their project environments were also very similar to ours. JAXA and ESA extended our cooperative agreement period for space components in June. Both of us are working in a project environment that is restricted to a certain extent. Both of us face some limits such as a market size that restricts our procurement of key components unlike the U.S., where more flexible and free procurement is possible. In my own opinion, such a restricted environment often positively promotes technological development. Therefore, it is an important factor for ESA-JAXA ties. I also heard that the ESA highly evaluated JAXA as an important partner. JAXA would like to do our best to meet ESA's expectations.

Last week, between July 8 thru 13, I went to the U.S. to visit the headquarters of NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). I met many space-related people including the NASA and NOAA administrators. I also inspected the space development forefront at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), a core center for manned space development, in Houston, the NASA Goddard Space Center, a key facility for space science and earth observations, in the suburbs of Washington DC, and Orbital Science Corporation, an American emerging mid-range company for satellite and launch vehicle development.

The experience there reminded me that the American philosophy of taking leadership in every area is a basic policy in the space field as we clearly observe this tendency in many other science and technology policies. I strongly felt that their challenging attitude with a strong will by exhibiting leadership even in some technologically difficult areas has prevailed through the space development field.

NASA's budget (17 billion dollars) is almost 10 times that of JAXA. Actually, the budget for the NASA JSC exceeds JAXA's, thus NASA's scale of operations is extremely broad. Against this backdrop, I felt that I was burdened with an assignment to ponder how to incorporate NASA's operations to our agency as well as to reconsider the unique Japanese method of space development. Concerning each project, I was told that JAXA was highly evaluated as a reliable partner for our high quality and sophisticated methods of work as I heard when I visited Europe.

One more point I would like to mention today is about NASA's idea for the International Space Station (ISS) project. First of all, this project cannot be achieved without international cooperation, and in that sense, NASA believes that the project is helpful not only for scientific international cooperation but it also has some aspects that are useful for securing national security and safety. I also heard that, in a broader sense, the ISS project is a scientific development activity that covers multiple characters and features. I felt that NASA's ideas were extremely sensible and advisable for JAXA to consider its participation in a project in the future.

Sorry for spending so much time talking about my visit to Europe and the U.S., but, through visiting those space agencies, I was reassured that JAXA's projects and activities are highly evaluated. On my side, I explained JAXA's plans based on the new Basic Plan on Space Policy. Everybody showed their understanding on our plans while reminding me that the real basis of our activities must be a philosophy of "space technology development," and asked my opinion on that regard. I told them that JAXA fully agreed on that point.

Now, let me change the topic. On July 2, JAXA announced our investigation results on unauthorized access to JAXA's server, which happened last April. JAXA confirmed the facts that information security incidents had happened repeatedly, thus we will fundamentally review our entire information security system to strengthen it with our very best efforts. Also, we have set up an outside advisory committee so that we can rebuild and enhance our information security system by receiving advice on our current weak points and areas to be improved.


I. Safety, security and disaster prevention
II. Industrial promotion
III. Space science frontier
IV. Education, promotion, and international cooperation

I. Safety, security and disaster prevention

All launch preparations for the H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 4 (H-IIB F1) and the first Epsilon Launch Vehicle (Epsilon-1) have been progressing smoothly. On June 19, the KOUNOTORI4 was revealed at the Tanegashima Space Center, and many media people were there*. On July 20, the Spectroscopic Planet Observatory for Recognition of Interaction of Atmosphere (SPRINT-A) was also shown to the press at the Uchinoura Space Center.*

*Both events were exclusively for the media.

  • Launch of H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV4, KOUNOTORI4) by H-IIB F4
    (First H-IIB launch by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. after launch operation privatization.)
      Scheduled launch date: August 4 (Sun.), 2013
      Scheduled launch time: 4:48 a.m. (Japan Standard Time)
      Launch window: August 5 (Mon.) thru September 30 (Mon.) 2013
      Launch site: Yoshinobu Launch Complex, Tanegashma Space Center

  • SPRINT-A Launch by Epsilon-1
      Scheduled launch date: August 22 (Thu.), 2013
      Scheduled launch time: 1:30 p.m. thru 2:30 p.m. (Japan Standard Time)
      Launch window: August 23 (Fri.) thru September 30 (Mon.) 2013
      Launch site: Uchinoura Space Center

II. Industrial promotion

Low sonic boom design conceptual verification second phase (D-SEND#2)

The second phase demonstration of the D-SEND project is scheduled between July 25 and August 24 (Sweden Time) at the Esrange Test Site in Kiruna, Sweden. We were prepared to be ready for the test starting from July 25.

III. Space science frontier

S-520-27 and S-310-42 sounding rocket launch
As the first phase sounding rocket launch test of Japan Fiscal Year 2013, JAXA will conduct a flight demonstration of S-310-42 and S-520-27 rockets between 11:00 pm. on July 20 (Sat.) and 1:00 a.m. on the 21st (Sun.) The purpose of the flight tests this time is to elucidate electric and magnetic power exchanges in the ionosphere (E and F layers) as well as energy exchanges between the neutral atmosphere and plasma. Also, we will estimate wind direction and velocity by trying "lithium light photo-shooting via moonlight," a first in the world. The photo-shooting will be performed from the ground by optical equipment as well as from JAXA's experimental aircraft "HISHO."

IV. Education, promotion and international cooperation

1) Particles from asteroid Itokawa on exhibition.
JAXA is exhibiting particles brought back to the Earth from the asteroid Itokawa by the asteroid explorer "Hayabusa" in June 2010 thanks to the cooperation of the National Museum of Nature and Science and Sagamihara City Museum* from July 17 (Wed.) 2013. At the exhibition, you can look at the particles through an optical microscope.
* At the Sagamihara City Museum, the exhibition is for a limited time only.
Hayabysa2 support project exhibition "One way to round trip - Advent of new space era"
Sagamihara City Museum (3-1-15 Takane, Chuo-ku, Sagamihara City, Kanagawa Pref.)
Exhibition period: July 17-28, 2013

(2) Hayabusa2 message campaign result
We are very glad to receive many support messages for the Hayabusa2 from all over Japan. As we would like to hear from more people, we extended the deadline of the message campaign from July 16th (Tue.) to Aug. 9 (Fri.)* Please send more messages for the Hayabusa2.
* Deadline through the website: 5:00 p.m. on Aug. 9 (Fri., Japan Standard Time).
Deadline via conventional mail: must be delivered to JAXA by Aug. 9 (Fri., JST)

(3) Sagamihara Campus special open house
JAXA Sagamihara Campus will hold a special open-house event for two days, on July 26 (Fri.) and 27 (Sat.) this year. You can visit some facilities that are usually off-limits, and also can learn about the latest research content with easy-to-understand explanations. We also exhibit satellite and launch vehicle models, and offer various events including a special space school and a plastic rocket class.