JAXA President Monthly Regular Press Conference May 2016

JAXA President Monthly Regular Press Conference

Date and time: From 11:00 - 11:40 a.m. on May 12 (Thu), 2016
Venue: JAXA Tokyo Office Presentation Room (B1 floor)
MC: Yoshikazu Shoji, JAXA Public Affairs Department Director

X-ray Astronomy Satellite "Hitomi" (ASTRO-H)

Concerning the X-ray Astronomy Satellite "Hitomi," we previously held a press conference on April 28. As we told you at that opportunity, we decided to give up the operation because the possibility of its recovery is extremely slim. As JAXA president, I am very sorry about such a serious situation.
We have been explaining this situation based on three factors that brought about this incident. We will further analyze those factors in relation to technical issues in each phase, including the design phase, manufacture, demonstration, and operation, to clarify the cause. We will also ask for cooperation from private companies that were in charge of design and operation, and continue to specify the reasons behind the incident.
We will report the investigation result including background causes to a committee for space development and application at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT).
While studying the cause, I also gave instructions to reconfirm if this incident may have any impact on other JAXA projects, especially in view of system quality and reliability, within the scope of our findings to date. If we find any impact, we may have to take new measures. Again, I feel very sorry for gravely disappointing many Japanese people, overseas research institutions who have cooperated, and astronomers in the world.

JAXA activity for the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake

First of all, I would like to express my deep sympathy for the victims of the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake, which caused significant damage on April 14.While the central, municipal, and local governments are working together for early recovery, JAXA renders its utmost support by utilizing its ability in cooperation with disaster-prevention agencies. We are mobilizing our satellites and aeronautic technologies. JAXA performed emergency observations on the damaged area immediately after the earthquake till April 19 using the Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 "DAICHI-2" to contribute to disaster prevention in cooperation with other agencies. As I have already introduced to you before, we have a method called the "interference analysis" to observe uplifts in land using the DAICHI-2. We lately experienced natural disasters such as volcanic activities and earthquakes in many places, hence we decided to ask a specialist to come to JAXA from the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan (GSI) in April to work together to strengthen our disaster-preparation/prevention activities.
Regarding satellites monitoring the Earth's environment, as discussed in the draft of the "Comprehensive Strategy on Science, Technology and Innovation 2016," I heard that discussion is going on to steadily develop such satellites to secure sustainable observations of the Earth's environment. To respond to such a discussion, JAXA continues to work hard by setting up and coordinating a steady organization and enhancing operations.
I would also like to introduce some aeronautical technology used for helping stricken areas due to the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake. The Disaster Relief Aircraft Information Sharing Network (D-NET) was mobilized in the quake-hit areas by dispatching JAXA employees according to a request from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. In the latest D-NET case, some helicopters were not equipped with a system that could be controlled while flying. We brought a special system to install it onto such a helicopter so that we were able to construct a centralized operation and control mechanism involving all helicopters through D-NET. Another activity in the stricken area is the Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT). DMAT's doctor helicopters are usually operated outside of the framework of the D-NET, but in Kumamoto this time, we were able to achieve a collaborative system between DMAT doctor helicopters and D-NET for the first time based on cooperation among pertinent organizations. We have received positive reactions from doctors in emergency medicine that their practice became more efficient. We would like to contribute to disaster preparation and prevention through our space and aviation technologies.

Press day to show new batteries to be transported by KOUNOTORI6

We are preparing to launch KOUNOTORI6 within this fiscal year. One of the important cargos to be loaded onto KOUNOTORI6 is the new batteries for the International Space Station (ISS). The batteries for the overall operation on the ISS have been scheduled to be replaced, and NASA decided to buy Japanese lithium-ion batteries manufactured by GS Yuasa International Ltd. Transporting them is one of the important missions for KOUNOTORI6. I heard that the batteries currently used are Nickel-metal hydride batteries, which have been in use for 10 years after their installation in 2007, hence they have deteriorated. For their replacement, this is the first time for Japanese lithium-ion batteries to be chosen for a common power source for the ISS, and KOUNOTORI was selected as their transportation means. This is not a one-time operation. We will ship six batteries on one KOUNOTORI trip, and will make four shipments to bring 24 batteries in total. After four KOUNOTORI trips, Japanese batteries manufactured by GS Yuasa will be used as the ISS power source. We plan to pack those batteries at the Tanegashima Space Center (TNSC) onto KOUNOTORI6, so we hope to show them to the press there prior to their loading. We will inform you of the press day schedule as soon as it is decided.

United Arab Emirates Space Agency (UAESA)

As JAXA signed a cooperation agreement with the United Arab Emirates Space Agency (UAESA) on March 22, UAESA Chairman Romaithi and Director General Ahbabi visited Japan this week for the first time after the signing, and I had an opportunity to talk to them yesterday.
The major purpose of their visit was to discuss and arrange more specific issues based on the agreement while showing them JAXA's capability in Tsukuba. They commented that JAXA is their very important partner in many senses including strategically, thus we hope to respond to their expectations by making our best effort.

Astronaut Onishi

Astronaut Onishi, who is scheduled to go to space in late June, moved to Russia and is now under final training. He will hold a press conference at the Gagarin Cosmonauts Training Center (GCTC) in late May. JAXA has scheduled to have the mission explanation session for Astronaut Onishi's expedition in late May. We will inform you of the schedule later.