JAXA President Monthly Press Conference May 2022

JAXA President Monthly Press Conference

Speech Abstracts by Hiroshi Yamakawa, President of JAXA
Date and time: From 1:30 - 2:15 p.m. on May 13 (Fri), 2022
Venue: Online
MC: Kaori Sasaki, Director, Public Affairs Department

1. Implementation Status of Selection Examination for New Astronaut Candidates

The results of screening documents for the selection examination for new astronaut candidates were announced on April 22. 2,266 applicants who passed the document screening process will take an online English test on May 8 as the first test of the zero-order selection.
Those who pass the English exam will move on to the May 29 general education exam, STEM field exams, etc. Up to that point is the zero-order selection process. The results of the zero-order selection will be announced around the end of June or early July.
The first round of selection, which is the next examination process, will be held around July, followed by the second round around October, and the third round around January or February next year. In this way, tests will continue over an extended period of time. We will brace ourselves up for the selection process as we continue to select astronaut candidates who will usher in a new era of international space exploration.

2. Status of H3 Launch Vehicle First-Stage Engine Combustion Test (Vibration Test of Turbine Blade)

I would like to inform you of the development status of the LE-9 engine, which is being newly developed as the first stage engine for the H3 Launch Vehicle.

As we are considering several countermeasures to address the issues that occurred in the turbopump, we conducted, as has been already reported, two blade vibration tests in March to verify the first countermeasure. We are continuing to conduct detailed evaluation of the data acquired as a result of these tests.

In parallel, following the blade vibration tests conducted in March, more blade vibration tests are scheduled to be conducted about six times at the Tanegashima Space Center after May 17 to verify the next countermeasures.

In addition to the verification of countermeasures to deal with blade vibration, these tests will also include the simultaneous acquisition of technical data to verify the function and performance of the additively manufactured injector to be used in the Test Flight No.2 and the subsequent flights of H3 Launch Vehicle in order to reduce costs.

3. "Space Teaching Package,” Practical Contents for School Class, Released to the Public

Many of Space Education Teaching Materials produced by utilizing the results of JAXA's research and development have been released to the public via the JAXA Space Education Center's website, etc., which are being used at schools and local youth education centers. Now, we are pleased to introduce "Space Teaching Package," a new series of digital teaching materials, which was produced with the aim of making it easier for teachers to incorporate space and the sky into their classes, and encourage independent and self-reliant practice of classes using space and the sky as teaching materials.

In the field of education, digitalization and the development of ICT environments are advancing, and the methods and nature of education are changing dramatically. Also, the new designated Course of Study, which is successively being implemented in schools starting in FY2020, emphasizes the importance of how children learn.

Under the circumstances, we have created these teaching materials with an eye to realizing "independent, interactive, and deep learning" for children by using space as a source of material.

In order to make it easier for teachers in the field to conduct a space education, these materials are packaged with a study guidance plan in line with the Course of Study, video materials and worksheets that can be used for study, and can be freely downloaded from the JAXA Space Education Center's website.

In addition, with the cooperation of the Sagamihara City Board of Education, we aimed to create a "teachers guide," which can be considered a blueprint for classes, that would fit more comfortably in the field.

Here is one example of the teaching materials. In "Abilities required to be an astronaut - Let's set goals for the future," one of the teaching materials, we introduce the space environment, life in space, and the qualities and abilities required to be an astronaut, and use puzzles as teaching materials for training communication skills, which will be practiced in class. When we say a “puzzle” for the selective examination of astronaut, a so-called all-white jigsaw puzzle with no pictures or patterns come to mind, but this puzzle is different from such a puzzle in that the selection test assignments for astronaut are arranged in the puzzle. The person who plays the role of the questioner/flight controller instructs examinees by only words to create "a shape that is formed by combining puzzle pieces of various shapes,” and the examinees who play the role of the respondent/astronaut try to assemble the shape as instructed. We hope that these teaching materials will lead both questioners and examinees to many “awareness,” including originality and ingenuity in the way they communicate, improvement of their comprehension, and the importance of communication when collaborating with others. We also hope that the class will contribute to the development of students’ proactive involvement in classroom and school activities and an attitude of making the best use of themselves.

In addition, seven types of content applicable to elementary and junior high school subjects are available on the Space Education Center's website, and we hope that instructors and others who are actively engaged in various educational activities will make use of these materials. We will continue to reflect the opinions of those who use these teaching materials in improving them, and continue to provide and expand learning opportunities for children to develop their own learning ability.

4. <Introduction of Board of Directors> Senior Vice President Kazuhiro Suzuki

We are pleased to introduce Senior Vice President Kazuhiro Suzuki, who took office last month.
Before assuming the current post, Senior Vice President Suzuki played the important role as the Director of Strategic Planning and Management Department until the end of March this year. With his experience, he will be responsible for overall coordination of the entire JAXA, as well as for promoting safety and mission assurance and environmental management.
Now, Senior Vice President Suzuki would like to offer his greetings.