JAXA President Monthly Regular Press Conference October 2016

JAXA President Monthly Regular Press Conference

Date and time: From 1:30 - 2:00 p.m. on October 14 (Fri), 2016
Venue: JAXA Tokyo Office Presentation Room (B1 floor)
MC: Yoshikazu Shoji, JAXA Public Affairs Department Director

IAC (International Astronautical Congress) ,2016

IAC (International Astronautical Congress) was held in September in Guadalajara, Mexico. IAC is annually organized in autumn. I, Naoki Okumura, President of JAXA was an attendee among some 5,000, the biggest turnout ever, who represent some 300 space agencies, universities, and organizations. I was one of the panelists of the plenary panel. I also joined another discussion, which addressed the relation between Space and climate change in conjunction with COP21. There, I introduced Japan’s approach of aerospace exploration and emphasized the importance of international cooperation in developing space research and technology. It resonated well. In addition, the opportunity announcement of the second KIBO CubeSat mission was made together with UNOOSA (The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs) at the discussion. The mission invites developing countries to deploy a CubeSats from KIBO, the Japanese experimental module in the International Space Station (ISS). University of Nairobi, Kenya was selected as the first public participant of the mission. Their project is underway. Particularly interesting was that quite a few from private businesses attended this last IAC. They do not represent public agencies and are often called “new space”. I found interaction with them productive.
IAF, the International Astronautical Federation sponsors IAC. Kiyoshi Higuchi, JAXA’s Technical Advisor served as chair of IAF. His term ended with IAC 2016. Its success gave him a memorable send-off.
Prior to IAC, I met the Administrators of NASA and NOAA. We have agreed to reinforce our relationship and cooperation as well as reminded ourselves of the good terms that the agencies have been on. It was a rewarding trip.

Astronaut Takuya Onishi’s Stay on the ISS

It has been 3 months since Astronaut Onishi got on board the ISS. His return to Earth is scheduled around late October. In the early period of the stay, Onishi contributed to the missions of breeding mice. He operated the Mouse Habitat Unit in cooperation with ground crew. He keeps an exciting record on Google Plus, through which many on Earth are enthralled to learn about his missions and activity. On October 17, he will capture Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft with the station’s robotic arm. His experience as a former commercial pilot fully equips him for the job. On October 26, shortly before his comeback, JAXA, in cooperation with Google Inc. is planning an event where communication with the ISS and live space experiment are to take place. JAXA appreciates continuous support of dear readers.


As was announced before, the necessary measures to ensure the safe operation of HTV6 have been taken. Therefore, HTV6 will be launched on December 9. On October 19, preceding its launch, it will be made public to the media in JAXA’s Tanegashima Space Center. HTV6 carries Japan-made lithium-ion batteries to the ISS. JAXA is making an attempt of on-orbit demonstration of electrodynamic tether (EDT) on HTV. It will illustrate whether electric current flows while reaching the target tether length. At the HTV6 media debut on October 19, the details will be explained. JAXA welcomes a large attendance.

Open Innovation Hub

JAXA’s “Open Innovation Hub for Expanding Humanosphere and Domain of Activity through Solar System Frontier Development” was selected for the innovation hub construction support, an operation conducted by the Japan Science and Technology agency. Hitoshi Kuninaka, a professor and aerospace engineer is in charge of the operation. Following June 9, JAXA made the second request for proposal to those who wish to participate. We hereby inform that 9 research requests out of 26 have been selected. The approved requests represent a wide range of research fields, regardless of connection with space exploration. JAXA will shortly contact the applicants and will finalize research plans. The details will be available on JAXA’s HP as soon as determined.

JAXA to Strengthen Ties with Turkey

On September 8, JAXA signed a cooperation agreement with the Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications of the Republic of Turkey. The agreement is designed to substantiate and to promote future cooperation of space development between the two parties. JAXA consents Turkey’s use of the Japanese Experimental Module KIBO to deploy a CubeSat and to conduct exposure experiments with Experiment Handrail Attachment Mechanism (ExHAM). JAXA’s experience in aerospace exploration and technology contribute to forming a robust cooperative relationship. The agreement has the objective of establishing a Turkish space agency through the bilateral endeavor in human resources. On October 5, Faruk Özlü, Turkish minister of the Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology visited JAXA’s Tsukuba Space Center. The Minister showed an incredible amount of interest. JAXA continues to strengthen its bonds with Turkey.