JAXA President Monthly Press Conference November 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 November 8 (Fri), 2019
Venue: JAXA Tokyo Office Presentation Room (B1 floor)
MC: Akiko Suzuki, Director, Public Affairs Department

The Use of Satellite Data in a Time of Disaster

As you know, during the months of September and October, typhoons and torrential rains one after another caused devastating damage to various places in Japan. I would like to express my sincere condolences to victims of the disasters.

Recently, Typhoons Faxai, Hagibis and Jebi wreaked enormous damage to Japan. While those typhoons were hitting Japan, in response to requests for emergency observation from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and the ministry’s Regional Development Bureaus, JAXA carried out emergency observations with the Advanced Land Observing Satellite 2 (ALOS-2 or DAICHI-2) and provided observation and analyzed data on ranges of flooding and spots where sediments may be washed down in Mie and Nagano prefectures as well as in the Kanto and Tohoku regions.

Since Typhoon Hagibis was expected to cause a major disaster, the government and JAXA in cooperation invoked an International Charter “Space & Major Disasters” and Sentinel Asia to request overseas space agencies in the U.S., Europe, Russia and China, etc. to provide supports for emergency observation. As a result, we received observation data from them. The observation data provided by these overseas space agencies were analyzed by universities and research institutes at home and overseas. Results of the analysis such as flood prone maps etc. provided by the universities and research institutes were shared with the requesters of emergency observation.

We believe that satellite observations in a time of disaster is essential for maintaining safe and secure communities. JAXA will continue to be committed to research and development by using data obtained from various Earth-observation satellites and the numerical simulation technology to the fullest so that we can promptly provide accurate information that contributes to disaster preparedness and reduction to communities.

A Joint Research Aimed at Developing New Social Infrastructure

JAXA and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) concluded a cooperation agreement aimed at building innovative optical network infrastructure that will lead to developing social infrastructure and resolving social issues through a technology fusion between the two organizations. JAXA and the NTT agreed to conduct a joint research based on the shared concept aiming to “create a secure optical and wireless communication infrastructure with ultra-high-speed and large-capacity that will seamlessly connect the earth and space.”

By combining JAXA’s “technology of building system for spacecraft” with the NTT’s “Innovative Optical & Wireless Network (IOWN) initiative,” we aim to accelerate a breakthrough in technology barrier and create new social infrastructure.

One of the subjects for the joint research is the application of multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) technology to satellite communication, which is difficult under the current conditions. We will establish the world’s first low orbit satellite MIMO technology that can be applied to communication between low orbit satellites and ground stations so that we will achieve an ultra-high-speed transmission of large-capacity data such as the Earth observation data etc.

In addition, some of the future research subjects that we plan to study are the establishment of space wireless optical communication technology with ultra-high-speed and the demonstration of the effect of a terahertz band wireless device for observation and communication that will be loaded onto next generation satellites. Through the application of these technologies to disaster risk reduction measures by using observation data sent from space as well as to inter-next generation satellite communication, we would like to contribute to building a safe and secure society.

From now on researchers of JAXA and the NTT will continue discussing, seeking new subjects for the joint research and advancing research on technologies to achieve the shared concept, through which we would like to further contribute to resolving social issues.

The Latest of JAXA Space Innovation through Partnership and Co-creation (J-SPARC)

As I have reported several times before, “JAXA Space Innovation through Partnership and Co-creation (J-SPARC),” one of the centerpieces of the Fourth Mid-to-long-term Plan that started last year, was launched in May 2018.

J-SPARC is a co-creative research and development program focusing on projects launched by private business operators.

We have received about 200 inquiries about the program.

There are about 20 projects currently in progress.

About 150 JAXA personnel have participated in the J-SPARC programs and worked on research and development of technologies needed for commercialization together with domestic space venture companies that aim to make a business out of space transportation and satellite utilization.

The co-creation with JAXA became an opportunity for the space venture companies to raise additional funds.

In addition, besides JAXA, the space venture companies expanded their cooperation with new businesses in the fields of AVATAR (remote construction in space) and foods, which accelerates the commercialization of their technologies.

As we reported through the press release on November 6, as part of J-SPARC program, JAXA in cooperation with creative company Bascule Inc. and Sky Perfect JSAT Corporation that works on space communication and broadcasting started activities to create “space media business” in the Japanese Experiment Module “KIBO” on the International Space Station (ISS).

Specifically, after summer in 2020, we plan to open “The Space Frontier Studio KIBO,” a studio for a broadcasting program, in the “KIBO” module and start two-way live broadcasting in which people can enjoy communication between space and the earth on a real-time basis. We will issue a press release again when we are ready to provide details.

The three parties will co-create the world’s first two-way live broadcasting program and achieve real-time communication from space, which will connect people with different nationalities, languages, generations, and gender.

In this way, we are committed to creating a new business and developing a new model for using the ISS and the Japanese Experiment Module “KIBO.”

JAXA will continue seeking ways to expand functions of “KIBO” that support the creation of private business activities.

We will aim to develop the region of outer space near Earth (low Earth orbit) into an arena of economic activities where the private sector can operate.

Providing an Opportunity for International Exchange and Hands-on Experience

As one of outreach activities in JAXA’s field of education, I would like to introduce the international Water Rocket Event in the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF-26).
The APRSAF was established in 1993 aimed at promoting the space utilization in the Asia-Pacific region. The forum is held every year co-sponsored by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, JAXA and the space agency of a host country. It is a space-related conference where about 400 people participate from about 30 countries in mainly the Asia-Pacific region. The APRSAF-25 was held in Singapore last year.
This year marks the 26th APRSAF, which will be held at the Nagoya Convention Hall from November 26 (Tue) through 29 (Fri) with “Advancing Diverse Links Toward a New Space Era” as the theme.
As one of activities by the “space education subcommittee” of the APRSAF, there is the international Water Rocket Event. Since 2005 when the event was first held in Kitakyushu City, it has been held every year in an APRSAF host country for the purpose of providing opportunities for international exchange and hands-on learning. About 60 students (between ages 12 and 16) and their coaches from about 13 countries participated in each event in last five years.
JAXA Space Education Center has been involved in the management of the event from the first time to select and send teams representing Japan. When the event was held overseas, we co-sponsored it with the host country’s space agency to make the event successful. For the upcoming event hosted by Japan, JAXA is involved in the management of event as the organizer and secretariat. We plan to hold the event at the training facility of the National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan and Camp Fuchinobe reservation in Sagamihara City, Kanagawa Prefecture from November 22 through 24. In the contest, participants will make a water rocket with materials and tools prepared by the organizer and launch the rocket toward the target point 80 meters away on November 24. As a result of the screening and selection by JAXA Space Education Center, three teams representing Japan are scheduled to participate in the event.
Students who will participate from the Asia-Pacific region including Japan will figure out ways to land their rockets at the target point. Through exchanges with the same generation students, they will also try to understand different cultures and at the same time further deepen the understanding of their own culture. In addition, in order to promote science and space education in participating countries and the sharing of knowledge and information on learning achievements, we plan to hold a workshop for teachers.

Reporting on participating in the 70th International Astronautical Congress (IAC)

I participated in the 70th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) held in Washington D.C. in the U.S. from October 21 through 25. I heard that more than 6,000 people from over 80 countries participated in the congress.
During the meeting of the Japanese government’s Strategic Headquarters for National Space Policy held on October 18, Japan decided to participate in the lunar exploration including the development of NASA’s Lunar Gateway project. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, “As an ally having an ironclad bond with the U.S., Japan made the decision to participate in the U.S.’s new endeavor by taking advantage of a technological edge that was fostered in projects like the Japanese Experiment Module “KIBO” and the H-II Transfer Vehicle “KOUNOTORI.” The IAC was held the following week. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said at the opening ceremony, “We welcome Japan’s decision to participate in the project,” and “Japan has been a vital partner.” This represents supports for achieving the lunar exploration from the top level of the Japanese and the U.S. government, which really encourages JAXA and we renew our commitment to the project.
During the IAC, I reported on the Japanese government’s decision by the Strategic Headquarters for National Space Policy through panels where chiefs of various countries’ space agencies make a presentation, as well as introduced Japan’s efforts for space exploration. I also had bilateral meetings with each representative from 10 foreign space agencies, specifically, ESA (Europe), CNES (France), UKSA (U.K.), NOSA (Norway), ISRO (India), ASA (Australia), UAESA (UAE), MBRSC (UAE), ISA (Israel), and SSAU (Ukraine) as well as with each representative of government agencies and industries. Through the bilateral meetings, we confirmed cooperation in space exploration in the future and the progress status of ongoing cooperation, as well as discussed the future cooperation.
We also exhibited a JAXA’s booth in the IAC venue where we introduced Japan’s contribution to the future international space exploration and cooperation among industry, government and academia. Furthermore, we participated in an interactive session with students from various IAC participating countries sponsored by the International Space Education Board (ISEB). Taking advantage of the opportunity, we carried out public relation and education activities.