JAXA President Monthly Press Conference July 2021

JAXA President Monthly Press Conference

Speech Abstracts by Hiroshi Yamakawa, President of JAXA
Date and time: From 1:30 - 2:15 p.m. on July 9 (Fri), 2021
Venue: Online
MC: Kaori Sasaki, Director, Public Affairs Department

Signing of Memorandum of Cooperation with Overseas Space Agencies

On June 11, JAXA and the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) on Space Development and Application. The signing ceremony was graced by the presence of H.E. Mr. Koshikawa Kazuhiko, Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines and H.E. Mr. Jose Castillo Laurel V, Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines to Japan. PhilSA was established in 2019 as a government agency reporting directly to the Office of the President. The agency started its space-related activities in 2020. I understand that this MOC with JAXA is the first Memorandum of Cooperation for PhilSA with an overseas space agency.
JAXA has been building a close cooperative relationship with the Philippine government agencies and universities, etc., since before the establishment of PhilSA through the promotion of disaster management-related research, the deployment of PHL-Microsat-1 or “DIWATA-1,” the first Philippines-made microsatellite, from the Japanese Experiment Module "Kibo,” and the launch of the PHL-Microsat-2 or "DIWATA-2" onboard the H-IIA launch.
This year marks the 65th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and the Philippines, as well as the 10th anniversary of the joint statement on "Strategic Partnership" between the two countries. JAXA would like to further develop its cooperative relationship in the field of space development and its application through the conclusion of this MOC.

On June 25, we also signed a Memorandum of Cooperation Regarding Aerospace Cooperation for Peaceful Purposes (MOC) with the United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA). We were honored to have its signing ceremony at the Japanese Embassy to the United Kingdom and the British Embassy to Tokyo. The signing ceremony was graced by the presence of H.E. Mr. Hayashi Hajime, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and H.E. Ms. Julia Longbottom, British Ambassador to Japan. One of the characteristics of this MOC is that, in addition to promoting cooperation with the UKSA, any UK entities approved by the UKSA can formulate implementing arrangements with JAXA under this framework. As its first case, JAXA signed on the same day an implementing arrangement with the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) for technical and scientific cooperation on space situational awareness.
With the signing of this MOC with UKSA, JAXA aims to engage in various collaborations with UKSA, UK laboratories, universities, and industry partners in order to contribute to the resolution of global issues.

Submission of Report to the United Nations by the National Space Legislation Initiative

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and JAXA have been holding the annual “Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF),” an international space-related conference. In 2019, APRSAF launched the National Space Legislation Initiative (NSLI) for the first time in the first legal and policy area.
In response to the growing interest in space policy and law in the Asia-Pacific region, the APRSAF has been working since 2017 by forming a community of space policy practitioners in the Asia-Pacific region to improve the ability in space policy and law of each country through information exchange. The National Space Legislation Initiative will take one step further and provide an opportunity for collaboration among practitioners.
Under the National Space Legislation Initiative, practitioners from Asia Pacific countries consist the Study Group and compiled a report on space legislation of each country. The nine countries participating in the National Space Legislation Initiative jointly submitted this report to the Legal Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), which met from May 31 to June 11 this year. The report summarizes the progress of space activities of the nine participating countries, their participation in international frameworks, and the status of domestic legislation.
The United Nations encourages countries to develop domestic space legislation and exchange information among them. The submission of this report has the significance of directly contributing to discussions of the Legal Subcommittee and supporting the formation of rules for space activities by introducing actual examples to countries that are about to develop space legislation. In addition, as a model for international cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region through space policy and law, the report will contribute to creating a platform for solving common issues in the Asia-Pacific region in the future and enhancing the presence of the region in international fora. The Legal Subcommittee expressed its appreciation to the Initiative’s Study Group for compiling the report. I understand that this is the first time that Asia-Pacific countries have collaborated to submit such a report.
In addition, on the first day of the Legal Subcommittee meeting, a side event was held, which was co-sponsored by the Japanese government, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and APRSAF and supported by the governments of the other eight participating countries of the Initiative, to commemorate the submission of the report and the appointment of Professor Aoki Setsuko of Keio University as the Chair of the Legal Subcommittee.
This year's 27th APRSAF is scheduled to be held in December. The achievements of the National Space Legislation Initiative will be reported at the forum. In addition, Space Policy and Law Working Group, which was newly established based on past experiences of the Initiative, is scheduled to be held for the first time. Through the APRSAF framework, JAXA will continue to contribute to the capacity building of practitioners in charge of space policy and law in the Asia-Pacific region and to rule-making through regional cooperation.

Status of Astronaut Hoshide's On-orbit Activities on the ISS

As a topic related to Astronaut Hoshide, I am pleased to report that the High-Quality Protein Crystal Growth Experiment started on June 18. The samples from this experiment will be placed in a vacuum insulated container newly developed by JAXA, and will be brought back to Earth by keeping the temperature at 20 degrees Celsius without using electricity. The container was newly developed for sample transportation by further upgrading and downsizing the Small Re-entry Capsule technology aboard the KOUNOTORI HTV7, a cargo transporter to the ISS, which was carried out in 2018. The development of this container enables JAXA to maintain the temperature on its own without relying on NASA's refrigerated transport service. The container will greatly expand the options for experimental sample transportation. The experimental samples in the vacuum insulated container will be recovered on the ground from the Dragon supply ship in early July.
Also, on June 22, a small satellite was deployed by JAXA's JEM Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (J-SSOD). In this deployment, the Republic of Mauritius' microsatellite "MIR-SAT1" was successfully deployed. MIR-SAT1 was selected as the winner in the third round of the cooperation agreement between JAXA and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (KiboCUBE) on providing developing countries with opportunities to deploy CubeSats. When MIR-SAT1 was deployed, many people in Mauritius, including Prime Minister of Republic of Mauritius The Hon. Pravind Kumar Jugnauth and Ambassador of Japan to Mauritius H.E. Kawaguchi Shuichiro witnessed the satellite deployment virtually as the event was broadcasted online. I believe that the experience in satellite development gained from the deployment of MIR-SAT1 and knowledge gained from the technical demonstration of image acquisition and communication with the ground will contribute to the development of Mauritius’ future space activities. I am pleased that Japan and JAXA have been able to contribute in this regard.
Other activities of Astronaut Hoshide include the “Asian Herb in Space Program ‘Asian Seeds 2020-21’ Mission 2," a plant experiment project using herb seeds from the Asia-Pacific region. This is a project to provide young researchers and youths in the Asia-Pacific region with opportunities to learn about space experiments on the Japanese Experiment Module "Kibo" and space environment utilization research. We started the project and checked the status of the herb seeds brought to the ISS by the Dragon supply ship SpX-21 and SpX-22, as well as videotaped samples. This is a follow-up mission to "Mission 1," which was conducted by Astronaut Noguchi in March. The seeds from 12 countries and regions in the Asia-Pacific region are sent to space, and then they will be returned to their home countries to be used for educational and research activities at participating organizations. In Japan, we are also preparing an educational program for children using space-flown basil seeds. We will recruit participants in the program, which will be held this fall.
Furthermore, on July 6, JAXA astronauts collaborated with the GIGA School Program of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and held the “GIGA School Special Lecture,” an educational activity. This time, under the theme of "How water and food move in space and how to eat them," astronaut Hoshide demonstrated “what happens when coffee and milk are mixed in a microgravity environment” on the Japanese Experiment Module "Kibo.” Elementary school students had made their predictions as a preliminary task, but they couldn't hide their surprise at how different the mixture is from the ground. I also watched from the distribution hall, and was impressed by the fascination of the elementary school students. We hope that this will encourage them to explore and work hard in their school work and self-learning.

Astronaut Noguchi's Temporary Return to Japan

Since his return to Earth on May 2, Astronaut Noguchi has been undergoing rehabilitation in Houston, USA. As his rehabilitation went well, Astronaut Noguchi has been back in Japan temporarily since mid-June. His temporary stay in Japan will continue until the end of July, during which Astronaut Noguchi will report on the completion of his mission to officials of the central and local governments, etc.
Although Astronaut Noguchi's on-orbit mission is over, the results of his stay in orbit, including operations and experiments, will be passed on to researchers and engineers on the ground. It is important to accumulate them as Japan's manned space technology. I also believe that it is essential to pass on his experience and skills as an astronaut to new Japanese astronauts. Once again, I would like to express my gratitude to all those who have supported and contributed to Astronaut Noguchi's ISS long-duration stay mission. We hope to continue to have opportunities to report widely on Astronaut Noguchi’s mission.

Decision on the Nationwide Touring Exhibition of the “HAYABUSA2” Return Capsule

JAXA has been accepting applications from organizations that will cooperate in the nationwide touring exhibition of the return capsule of the Asteroid Explorer "Hayabusa2. We are pleased to announce that 21 organizations have been selected from among the 28 organizations that applied to hold the exhibition this fiscal year. We have received applications from all over the country, and we feel that there continues to be a high level of interest in “Hayabusa2.” Due to the exhibition schedule this fiscal year, we were not able to reflect the desire of all the applicants in the exhibition plan. We also heard that some organizations decided not to apply due to restrictions including the current COVID-19 pandemic condition. We will consider holding touring exhibitions in the next fiscal year and beyond.
This year's touring exhibition is scheduled to start in September and continue until next March 2022. Starting with the Kanto region in September, the touring exhibition will be held in Kyushu, Kagoshima and Hokkaido. Prior to the event, the "Society 5.0 Science Expo" will be held at Tokyo Sky Tree Town, jointly organized by the Cabinet Office and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology. The “HAYABUSA2” return capsule will also be exhibited at the Science Expo from July 15 to 28. We would like people to experience many engineering and scientific achievements of the “Hayabusa2” mission through the opportunity to actually see the return capsule.