JAXA President Monthly Press Conference January 2019

JAXA President Monthly Press Conference

Speech Abstracts by Hiroshi Yamakawa, President of JAXA
Date and time: From 1:30 - 2:30 p.m. on January 11 (Fri), 2019
Venue: JAXA Tokyo Office Presentation Room (B1 floor)
MC: Akiko Suzuki, Director, Public Affairs Department

New Year's Greeting

JAXA sends the new year's greetings to all.
Last year was a milestone for JAXA for several reasons. Last September marks the 50th year since the first rocket launch from the JAXA Tanegashima Space Center. JAXA had its 15th anniversary the following month.
Since becoming JAXA President in April of this pivotal year, I have tried my best to implement JAXA's fourth mid- and long-term plans. Launches have been done of two H-IIA vehicles, H-IIB, Japanese government's Information Gathering Satellite No. 6, Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite-2, (IBUKI-2) Kounotori7 (HTV7) aboard H-IIB. H-IIA launched carrying multiple small satellites onboard developed by private corporations and universities, pioneering the expansion of space activities undertaken by different sectors. Successful return of the HTV Small Re-entry Capsule is, though seemingly a rather minor event, a big step for Japanese space development technologies. Media coverage brought attention to Hayabusa2 rendezvous with Ryugu. Our cooperation with international community is embodied in the ISS expedition of JAXA Astronaut Kanai, and the launch of BepiColombo, the international Mercury exploration mission. Both events are memorable to me. Last year has its shares of natural disasters. JAXA offered satellite data to respond to them. We will try to enhance our technologies to help remedy disasters that occur in our country and beyond.
The current Japanese fiscal year will be through just in three months, during which a few significant events will take place – The Innovative Technology Demonstration Satellite 1 launch aboard the fourth Epsilon Launch Vehicle and Hayabusa2 touchdown on Ryugu. I will expand on these missions later. JAXA will try its best to make sure that they will succeed.
The coming fiscal year too will be filled with events. The Japanese Data Relay System and Kounotori-8 will launch. Toward the end of the year, JAXA Astronaut Noguchi will be in for the third spaceflight. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon. Those who engage in space around the world are searching for new goals. JAXA is also resolved to get ready for the next generation. Initiatives undertaken by The International Space Exploration Center that we established within JAXA last year, among others, will equip us to usher in the new era.
It is JAXA's desire to expand and strengthen Japan's development and utilization of space. JAXA will positively contribute as a national aerospace hub that coordinates the local and national governments, private sector, academia and international institutions. Doing so will bring Japan's preeminence to the fore of the international arena.

New Fiscal Budget

Japanese government has just drafted the fiscal 2019 budget. It allocates for JAXA \155.6 billion, \1.5 billion more than the previous year. Additionally, a \29.1 billion supplementary budget is funded to JAXA during the current fiscal year, the same amount as the previous fiscal year. I would like to elaborate on a few major sections.
First, a \33.1 billion section has been appropriated to fund the development costs of H3, which is JAXA's next flagship launch vehicle. For the development cost of the Japanese Data Relay System, (JDRS) scheduled to launch in fiscal 2019, \11.2 billion is allocated. Both are total amounts of the original and supplementary budgets. Likewise, the sum of \8.9 billion funds the development costs of Advanced Optical Satellites-3 and -4, (ALOS-3 and ALOS-4) both slated for fiscal 2020 launch. A new \300 million budget section has been added to promote the research and development that demonstrates the technology for mitigation of space debris. Addressing this issue which becomes ever more serious is essential for sustainable space development. However, it requires more than an initiative by a single government. JAXA believes it is extremely important that Japan lead the world by taking it seriously and tackling it.
Second, \500 million is funded for the research and development to contribute to a U.S.-led Gateway, an orbital outpost in the vicinity of the Moon. The budget would help investigate the technologies that Japan excels in. At the meeting of the Strategic Headquarters for Space Policy, Prime Minister Abe approved a coordination process with international community participating in it. Also, frontloading the research and development of the Martian Moon eXploration (MMX) receives \1.6 billion. These help us promote international space exploration, the initiative that JAXA Space Exploration Center is responsible for. The Center was established within JAXA last June.
Third, \3.7 billion is allocated to ensure the demonstration of next-generation aeronautical science technologies, in particular, a core engine technology.
We are aware that our country can afford a tight budget for space exploration. Within the limited resources, JAXA endeavors to maximize results and to advance more effective and efficient research and development. We appreciate your continued understanding and support.

Epsilon-4 Launch

Next week on Thursday, January 17, Epsilon-4 is scheduled to launch from the JAXA Uchinoura Space Center. Epsilon-4 carries aboard Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstoration-1, a suite of seven small satellite missions, consisting of RAPIS-1, Rapid Innovative payload demonstration Satellite 1 and three CubeSats and three microsatellites.
Since September 19 last year, when the Epsilon-4 first stage motor arrived at the Uchinoura Center, assembly and inspections have ensued. Operations to mate the satellites with the multi-payload mounting structure began on November 22, last year and almost a month later on December 23, the rocket's nose and fuselage were stacked together.
This week, early morning on January 8 through 9, a launch dress rehearsal took place that simulates the launch day operation procedure including the moving of the rotating service structure to the launch position. JAXA will proceed the rest of the Epsilon-4 operations to ensure a successful January 17 launch.

Epsilon-4 Shown to the Media at Rehearsal, January 8

RV-X Research Status Updates

JAXA conducts flight experiments on small experimental vehicle and aims at flights with reuse of rocket's first stage. This research and development of reusable space transportation system is in accordance with the Basic Space Plan that Japanese government enacted. In this research and development, the important system technologies are the guidance control, propellant management and reoperation of an engine, the technologies that support flight and operation during a vehicle's launch and operation cycle. The first experimental phase is the demonstration of guidance control during landing using a small test vehicle called RV-X, the acronyms for the Reusable Vehicle-eXperiment. The second phase is the flight demonstration of CALLISTO, Cooperative Action Leading to Launcher Innovation for Stage toss-back Operation. During this phase, the engine's performances are tested, among which is boostback, a burn performed to redirect the vehicle for reentry. JAXA conducts the flight demonstration in cooperation with the CNES, the French National Centre for Space Studies and the DLR, the German Aerospace Center. The step-by-step procedure is expected to bring accumulative technological expertise necessary to research and develop the system.
Today, I would like to expand on Phase 1. The research results of the reusable engine that the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) was in charge of until 2015 contribute to the technological development for this phase. For the flight tests, the technology that helps predict the low-level winds called DREAMS, the Distributed and Revolutionarily Efficient Air-traffic Management System developed by the Aeronautical Technology Directorate, JAXA will be used, along with the statistical guidance control technology that JAXA has obtained through the D-SEND project.
Last September to October, at the Noshiro Rocket Testing Center, Akita, we conducted the first ground firing test of RV-X using a reusable expander bleed cycle engine with a 4-ton class thrust. The testing, successful for the first time in Japan, took 6 stages, where the propulsion control was gradually altered from 100% to 40%. Toward the end of the testing, frequent reusable cycle was simulated at the interval of a day with fewer test operators. As a result, we have obtained the unique technologies that would realize development of the world-class reusable engine and propulsion systems and their operation. The series of firing testing also brought to light some of the technical issues that involve the RV-X to be flight tested and its ground facility.
JAXA seeks to tackle and solve theses and meet the timeline of the second series of the ground firing tests and the RV-X flight tests, scheduled for the fiscal 2019. We ask for cooperation of other pertinent organizations to make the testing a success.

Joint Study with AIST Using ABCI

In the framework of the ongoing fourth mid- to long- term plan, JAXA is making a special effort to promote satellite data to create businesses that use innovative, high technology. The December 25 agreement JAXA made with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) showcases our initiative. This agreement on the research and development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) analysis techniques of satellite data has initiated automatic analysis of the vast amount of satellite derived data that JAXA stores using AI techniques. Existing approaches to locate flooding and landslides of a disaster-stricken area rely on manual satellite data processing by experts. Available data sets abound exponentially due to continuous satellite monitoring. One such example is the PALSAR2, L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar onboard JAXA's Daichi 2 satellite, which affords the satellite all weather, day and night monitoring capabilities. Especially in agriculture, the water cycle, ecosystem, and disaster response, a computational resource that performs quick analysis of mass data and machine learning is essential. There has been a need for computation with the ability to process enormous calculations.
To address the needs, the JAXA-AIST agreement seeks to establish a framework to mutually avail each other's resources. JAXA offers the synthetic aperture radar and other satellite data accumulated for over the last three decades. AIST provides the AI Bridging Cloud Infrastructure, (ABCI) the world's seventh most powerful supercomputer built by AIST, which has been operational since last August. The agreement facilitates the use of JAXA's satellite data sets of Japan and the rest of the globe in the research and development of technology that extracts information in far less time than current manual methods.
The scope of this agreement encompasses the use of AIST's satellite data, namely, ASTER sensor, Landsat, Sentinel-1 and -2 that carry a C-band SAR instrument and the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology's X-band SAR onboard the aircraft, as well as data from JAXA's satellites. The L-band radio wave of PALSAR-2 on JAXA's Daichi 2 and other satellites can penetrate vegetation to some degree and can detect changes of the land surface caused by diastrophic activities such as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. By computing the relative change between features extracted from data captured both before and after a disaster, it is possible to identify the areas of maximum change. This is a great advantage in monitoring Japan, 70% of whose landmass is covered with vegetation, and other disaster-prone Asian countries. The agreement aims at supplementing the L-band data of the entire Earth, exclusive to JAXA, with C- and X- bands SAR data from other satellites, which will rapidly and automatically be processed by the ABCI. This approach is expected to extract the information of the entire affected area comprehensively and accurately during a crisis.
JAXA will continue implementing the platform where the Agency can work together with researchers from AIST and other organizations to make the most of the satellite information for effective disaster response.

Asteroid Explorer "Hayabusa2"

Hayabusa2 has completed the operation during conjunction, a planetary position in which Earth, the Sun and the asteroid are aligned. As observed from Earth, Hayabusa2 is located on the opposite side of the Sun, making the communications difficult. Nonetheless, the telemetry received from the explorer shows its attitude, communications and onboard instruments are in good health. The state of Hayabusa2 is sound.
Starting this month, the explorer conducts monitoring in the vicinity of the target asteroid Ryugu, and is scheduled to touch down to retrieve samples next month at the earliest.
Controlling the spacecraft to descend onto the surface of the asteroid 300 million kilometers away from Earth is a meticulous operation requiring a minute precision. We have narrowed down to two landing sites for the first touchdown. Ongoing examination by the Hayabusa2 project team verifies the status of the boulders on the surface of the sites, ensures the safety of the craft, and explores the extent of the precision of the touchdown operation. On February 6, a press briefing is held to report on this investigation. I would welcome your participation.