JAXA President Monthly Press Conference February 2017

JAXA President Monthly Press Conference

Speech Abstracts by Naoki Okumura, President of JAXA
Date and time: From 1:30 - 2:00 p.m. on February 17 (Fri), 2017
Venue: JAXA Tokyo Office Presentation Room (B1 floor)
MC: Yoshikazu Shoji, Director, Public Affairs Department

SS-520 No. 4 Launch Result

JAXA regrets to inform the failure of the experiment of SS-520, JAXA's sounding rocket launched on January 15. Through SS-520 No. 4 launch, JAXA wished to verify commercial technology on launch vehicles. The launch was part of Japanese government's program for development of launch vehicles and satellites in public-private partnerships. JAXA is disappointed that it fell short of expectations of the Japanese public and the private sector. Following the failure, investigation team was set up and report was made to the Research and Development in the Aerospace Field of Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports Science and Technology. The cause lies, put simply, in unprecedentedly high demands for rocket's weight saving and for the mass of the weight. JAXA had sought for drastic reduction of the size and weight, but in hindsight the attempt was hardly enough. In my opinion, efforts to save rocket's size and weight will accelerate and businesses welcome the endeavor. JAXA is resolved to meet the demands through retry. Once the investigation team gets to the bottom of the problem and comes up with clear solution, we are going to measure up to the demands through retry. Down the road there will be challenges that JAXA needs to tackle- ensuring ample funding allocations, manufacturing equipment, and others. At this moment, the root cause of the last launch failure is thoroughly identified, which almost brings the investigation to closure. We are determined to give the process an impetus, by addressing to individual roadblocks and coordinating efforts between JAXA and other pertinent organizations.

Updates on JAXA's Astronauts

JAXA will present the mission reports prepared by Astronaut Onishi at Suidobashi, Tokyo on Tuesday, 21. We are expecting a large turnout. Astronaut Kanai, scheduled for a mission in autumn, will make a temporary homecoming for training, sometime in late March or April.

ARASE to Undergo Transition of New Phase

ARASE, formerly known as ERG, Exploration of energization and Radiation in Geospace which launched on December 20 last year, has been in the phase of initial operations. The current operations are expected to last for another month or so until late March. Transition to the science operation phase occurs after successful completion of initial phase, which we assume will take place in April.

Curtain Falls on COPUOS Subcommittee

As mentioned in my last month's Press Conference, Chiaki Mukai, Dr., JAXA's Senior Advisor to the Executive Director was appointed as Chair of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of COPUOS, the Committee on the Peaceful Use of Outer Space of the United Nations. COPUOS 2017, held in Vienna on January 30 through February 10, discussed a technical approach to three major issues facing the global community- the use of space technology applications which goes in line with the SDGs, Sustainable Development Goals, the long-term sustainability of outer space and attempts to reduce space debris. Dr. Mukai will report the results as Chair to COPUOS, to be summoned in June. I am glad and proud that she, one of our colleagues serves well in such capacity on the internationally significant platform.