JAXA President Monthly Press Conference April 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 April 19 (Fri), 2019
Venue: JAXA Tokyo Office Presentation Room (B1 floor)
MC: Akiko Suzuki, Director, Public Affairs Department

JAXA Fiscal 2019 Strategic Plans

One year has passed since I assumed office as president last April. I consider that during the past one year, I have been able to make a good start by cooperating not only with relevant ministries and agencies, local municipalities and industries in Japan but also with various organizations overseas.
I plan to further accelerate cooperation with those partners both in Japan and overseas so that JAXA's successes in research, development and projects will be best utilized for policymaking and rooted in our life. I also plan to conduct challenging developments in the field of Japan's space and aeronautics while fully using past technology. These are my goals and they remain unchanged since last fiscal year.
Now, I would like to report on the strategic plan for this fiscal year.
This fiscal year, we plan to launch a Japanese Data Relay System (JDRS) and "Konotori" 8 from the Tanegashima Space Center. Also, Astronauts Noguchi and Hoshide aim to fly to the International Space Station for the third time and continue their training. I will discuss the Hayabusa2 spacecraft in detail later, but it finally will depart from asteroid Ryugu at the end of this year and start preparing to return to the earth. We reorganized JAXA on April 1st and changed responsibilities of vice presidents.
From the Space Technology Directorate that has overseen transportation technology, development and operation of satellite system and satellite utilization services, works on the development of transportation system including H3 Launch Vehicle and launch services are separated, newly establishing "Space Transportation Technology Directorate."
At the Tashiro Field Laboratory of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Ltd., which you visited last week, we finished a series of tests of the First Stage Battleship Firing Test (BFT) in which two "LE-9" engines and a mock-up tank are combined. This firing test was the first step of continuing large scale tests following in order that will follow to put together the a rocket as an integrated system. The success of the test signifies that we passed one of the important stages. We will steadfastly proceed with the development of H3 rocket – the next mainstay rocket – in the new organizational structure under the supervision of Vice President Funo.
With respect to the Space Technology Directorate that oversees the development and operation of satellite system and satellite utilization services, Vice President Imai will supervise the directorate. We have also established the "high-accuracy satellite positioning system project team" in the Space Technology Directorate. I will touch on this later. Based on the entrustment by the Cabinet Office concerning the Quasi-Zenith Satellite (QZS) System, we would like to steadfastly advance the development of the high-accuracy satellite positioning toward creating a seven-satellites arrangement by fiscal 2023.
In addition, Vice President Sano who has supervised the Aeronautical Technology Directorate will also oversee the Research and Development Directorate. This is because Vice President Imai has transferred to the Space Technology Directorate, Vice President Sano will supervise both the Research and Development Directorate and the Aeronautical Technology Directorate.
We are committed to continually advancing our research and development toward maximizing outcomes. We would appreciate your continued understanding and support.

Entrustment by the Cabinet Office Concerning the QZS System "Michibiki"

I referred earlier to the high-accuracy satellite positioning system project team, which was established in the Space Technology Directorate. After JAXA developed and demonstratively operated the first QZS Michibiki, the Cabinet Office started providing services from last November by the arrangement of four satellites.
The Cabinet Office revised the roadmap for the Basic Plan on Space Policy last December. The roadmap specified that in order to make sustainable positioning possible, not reliant on the U.S. GPS etc., the Cabinet Office will steadfastly advance the QZS system by strengthening cooperation with JAXA to improve the satellite's function and performance toward the creation of a seven-satellites arrangement.
Under the circumstances, the Cabinet Office entrusted JAXA with the development of positioning mission payload for Michibiki No. 5, 6 and 7. In response, we newly established the high-accuracy satellite positioning system project team in April this year. We ensure to promote the project and continue contributing to the system improvement in technology field from the standpoint of maintaining security, industrial promotion and increasing international competitiveness.

Reporting Results of Business Trip to the U.S.

I went to the U.S. from two weeks ago until last week.
On April 5 (Fri), we held "Japan-U.S. space and aeronautics cooperation seminar" jointly with the Japanese Embassy in the U.S. at the old official residence of Japanese ambassador in Washington D.C. Thanks to over a total of 100 guests from NASA including Administrator Jim Bridenstine, the U.S. government and industries, we were able to successfully complete the event and the following reception. During the seminar, I briefed on JAXA's projects for this fiscal year and reported on the 40th anniversary of JAXA's Washington D.C. Office.
The following week, which is the last week, I attended the "35th Space Symposium" from April 8 (Mon) through April 11 (Thu). This is an annual event held in Colorado Springs in the U.S., the largest space-related symposium in the U.S.
At the Fifth National Space Council held the other day, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence announced a message, "The U.S. will aim at a manned moon landing within five years." This significantly impacted our partners in and outside the U.S. and industries as a whole. I had an impression that participants had lively discussions on space exploration at public sessions and meetings.
At the plenary session, I introduced JAXA's latest achievements including "Hayabusa2" and the future missions under planning. During the plenary session, I also introduced information that Bridgestone Corporation will newly participate in discussions at Toyota Motor Corporation on a manned pressurized rover in the International Space Exploration mission, which is jointly conducted by JAXA and Toyota Motor Corporation. The manned pressurized rover is an element that plays an important role in a full-scale lunar exploration and the utilization of the lunar surface. I am very grateful that we have the new partner who challenges the International Space Exploration and we can accelerate our discussions.
During the symposium, I also attended the Head of Agency meeting, had meetings with space and government agencies including NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA). Through the meetings, I was able to confirm strong cooperative relations with those agencies and exchange opinions on the possibility of future cooperation. By participating in these events, I think that I was able to fully show JAXA's presence overseas.

Operation of the Small Carry-on Impactor "Hayabusa2" and Future Plan

"Hayabusa2" separated the Small Carry-on Impactor (SCI) on April 5 and implemented the creation of an artificial crater. The separation of the SCI was confirmed by both the wide-angle camera (ONC-W1) and the Thermal Infrared Imager (TIR). Through imaging of the Deployable Camera (DCAM3), which was separated from the body, we were also able to confirm that the SCI collided with Ryugu's surface, blasting material into space.
After the SCI operation, "Hayabusa2" has entered the evacuation orbit to avoid scattered materials, but it conducted an orbital adjustment for three times and is now returning to the Home Position (HP).
From now on, "Hayabusa2" is planned to start descending toward Ryugu on the afternoon of April 24. It is planned to approach the asteroid as close as 1.7 km above Ryugu past 11:00 a.m. on April 25 and observe it for about 90 minutes. Images of Ryugu's surface are planned to be taken there, which will be compared with images taken before during the descent observation operation to probe the crater. Then, we will continue examining the surface to see whether there is a safe touchdown candidate site inside or around the crater, aiming to collect samples from the inside Ryugu.

We issued a press release before when the thesis on observation results of "Hayabusa2" appeared on the Science Magazine website. It is my pleasure to inform you that an image of asteroid Ryugu taken by "Hayabusa2" makes the cover of Science Magazine published today.


With respect to the fundraising through crowdfunding for the research and development of wireless power transmission technology that I introduced last month, thanks to great support from as many as over 300 people as of April 11, we were able to collect the target amount of 4.5 million yen. As of today, a total donation amounts to 4.655 million yen. This is because journalists here have kindly reported on our projects. We would like to express our deepest gratitude. We will continue disseminating information on the development status and daily activities. We appreciate your continuing participation.

This is just a friendly reminder of an event that I have already informed you. We will hold the "High Resolution Remote Sensing Satellite Symposium" from 13:30 on May 15 (Wed) at the Station Conference Tokyo 5F Sapia Hall in Nihonbashi. We are planning to report on the development status of the Advanced Optical Satellite (ALOS-3) and the Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS-4), as well as the promotion of utilizing them. We will appreciate your attendance and coverage.