JAXA President Monthly Regular Press Conference January 2015

JAXA President Monthly Regular Press Conference

Date and time: From 11:00 - 11:30 a.m. on January 15 (Thu.), 2015
Venue: JAXA Tokyo Office Presentation Room (B1 floor)
MC: Shigeki Kamigaichi, JAXA Public Affairs Department Director

I would like to explain the current status about an alleged ammonia leak at the International Space Station (ISS). At 5:49 p.m. on Jan. 14 (JST), NASA issued an alarm that could have been indicative of an ammonia leak in Node 2. The crewmembers were isolated in the Russian segment and followed ISS emergency procedures that included switching the power source.
Following an analysis of every ISS area, no ammonia leaks were found, thus it was determined to be a system error. The crew returned to the US module, and is now working on recovering the power system. We received a report that there was no impact on the Kibo's operation. The ISS is now returning to its normal status, and, accordingly, JAXA's experiments there are also back to normal following the emergency operation.

New "Basic Plan on Space Policy"

On Jan. 9, the new "Basic Plan on Space Policy" was decided by the Strategic Headquarters for Space Policy. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe instructed JAXA and other related ministries to steadily follow the plan to make it a success. Thus JAXA, as a core space development agency which supports the Japanese government's space development, keeps firmly promoting research and development for satellites, launch vehicles, space exploration and other aerospace areas.

Cabinet approval of JFY 2015 budget

The original Japan Fiscal Year 2015 budget was approved by the Cabinet on Jan. 14. JAXA's total budget is 154.1 billion yen, about 400 million less than that of JFY 2014 of 154.5 billion yen. However, a supplementary budget of 29.9 billion yen was already set, thus the total will be 184 billion yen. So, incorporating the supplementary budgets, the JFY 2015 JAXA budget is about a 2.5 billion yen increase from the 2014 budged of 181.5 billion yen.
The following are major points of the JFY 2015 budget:

  • 12.5 billion yen was allocated for a new flagship launch vehicle that is slated for launch in 2020. It is an increase of 5.5 billion yen compared to JFY 2014.
  • 5.1 million yen was newly set for developing an "advanced optical satellite" to achieve unprecedentedly broad and high-resolution land observations, which no country has ever previously attained.
  • 3.1 billion yen was assigned to start developing an "optical data relay satellite" for optical communication to realize a data transmission speed of more than twice as much of that by radio frequency (1.8 Gbps.)
  • 900 million yen was newly allocated for launching a small satellite by the Epsilon launch vehicle to set up an innovative satellite technology verification program for novel space technology.
  • 11.4 billion yen was set for launching the next X-ray astronomy satellite "ASTRO-H" in JFY 2015.

As you can see, we received budget allocations for newly launched missions, thus we are working hard to cope with expectations.

New year's resolution

Let me briefly introduce this year's scheduled activities.
From April, JAXA will begin activities as a "National Research and Development Agency." As such, we have to carry out our missions to maximize the purpose of this state policy.
A research and development agency is expected to 'optimize R&D results representing all of Japan." Hence JAXA is expected not only to work hard as an R&D agency but also to contribute to generating innovation allover Japan by disseminating JAXA's achievements.
Accordingly, our working practices within JAXA may differ from our conventional ways.
Astronaut Kimiya Yui will stay at the ISS as a 44/45 expedition crewmember from the end of May to November this year. He will perform space experiments and other activities.
In December, we plan to conduct an Earth swing-by of the Asteroid Explorer "Hayabusa2" and orbit re-injection of the Venus Climate Orbiter "AKATSUKI."
JAXA's JFY 2015 launch schedule includes launches of the KOUNOTORI-5, a cargo transporter to the ISS, and the next generation X-ray Astronomy Satellite "ASTRO-H."
As you can see, the next fiscal year will be another significant year for JAXA as we have to play an important role as a national research and development agency for new missions being planned, while many events have already been scheduled.

New R&D projects in aviation field

Two new R&D projects were launched in January in the aviation field, namely the Advanced Fan Jet Research project (aFJR) and the Flight Demonstration of Quiet Technology to Reduce Noise from High-lift Configurations project (FQUROH).
The "R&D project" is defined to be different from a "common noun of R&D" as the project is mainly led by the Institute of Aeronautical Technology but also guided by JAXA. Its goals are shared by the industry for collaboration. We will generate more "R&D projects" in addition to the above two. Both of them are categorized as priority issues in the "Strategic next generation aviation R&D vision" compiled by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology as government policy.

Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction

The third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction will be held in Sendai, Japan, between March 14 (Sat.) and March 18 (Wed.) One of the activities at the conference is a meeting of the CEOS (Committee of Earth Observation Satellites). As a chair organization of the CEOS, JAXA will lead addresses toward disaster preparation/mitigation using space technology. We plan to offer some opportunity to introduce you (the media) to JAXA's activities for disaster preparation using space under international cooperation by taking this opportunity of having the CEOS in Japan.

Tokyo Conference on International Study for Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience

The Tokyo Conference on International Study for Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience is being held at the University of Tokyo for three days from January 14 (Wed.) to 16 (Fri.) (The conference was hosted by the Science Council of Japan, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) and Ito International Research Center of the University of Tokyo.) Yesterday, JAXA Vice President Higuchi took to the podium as a panelist of the High Level Panel Session to introduce disaster preparation/mitigation activities using space technology. We would like to boost disaster preparation/mitigation activities using satellites as one of the big pillars of JAXA's engagement.

Application of Hayabusa2 power technology

As part of the commercialization of R&D achievements, JAXA proposes technology for power peak cuts stemming from the Asteroid Explorer "Hayabusa2." We have made available the communication information to apply this technology for electric appliances as an open platform. This communication technology enables us to control and prioritize power for multiple electric appliances simultaneously based on infrared communication media. We hope that it will be applied to many electric appliances by loading onto an open platform. In order for the private sector to utilize this technology, we plan to have an explanatory session on Jan. 20 (Tue.)

HINODE research results

The Solar Physics Satellite "HINODE" has been achieving various results since its launch in 2006. We plan to hold an informative meeting for the media on Jan. 20 (Tue.) to introduce the latest solar flare research results and future prospects.

Hayabusa2 status

Let me explain the current status of the Asteroid Explorer "Hayabusa2." It is currently flying at about 17 million km away from the Earth. It is still under initial functional confirmation operation for its onboard instruments and ground tracking facilities. The onboard ion engines are also under confirmation, and all four are verified to generate thrust. We perform their test operation till the end of Jan.