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  INTRODUCTION  Prologue  
Foundation of AVSA
Prior to the establishment of the Institute of Industrial Science (IIS) at the University of Tokyo in 1950, several research areas were prohibited by the General Headquarters (GHQ). One of which was spacecraft, and in the electrical field was microwaves. When the Treaty of Peace with Japan was concluded, Japan would become independent and such prohibitions would be taken away and we would be able to perform our research in various fields at our discretion. Such an era was just in front of our eyes. An aviation-related course was held at the Second Faculty of Engineering at the University of Tokyo. Professors at this faculty probably wanted to do something related to restarting aviation research and Itokawa led the others.

At that time, an aircraft called "Comet" was the plane of choice but the era of jet aircrafts was just around the corner. At that time, Professor Itokawa told me, "There is already too large of a gap in jet aircraft research, so we can not do much in that area." After that, his imagination started to flow and after skipping over the jet aircraft, he thought of a rocket. He spoke to people in related fields and established a study group with the goal of creating a rocket as a transportation vehicle. (Tamiya Nomura)

When World War II ended, GHQ greatly dismantled Japanese armament. Naturally, research on aircrafts was strictly prohibited. Specialists in aeronautical engineering who worked more or less in designing or producing aircrafts during the war lost their way after their research objects were taken away and before long they were scattered to more basic study fields somewhat related to their specialties.

In 1952, when Japan became independent due to the Treaty of Peace, global aviation development was gradually entering into the era of the jet. The first British jet passenger aircraft, the Comet, had already debuted in 1949 and the design of the Caravelle aircraft had begun in France. Specialists in aeronautical engineering who had been scattered to various areas after the war returned to Japan and plunged themselves into research on jet aircrafts, thriving on their newly found academic freedom.

However, Professor Hideo Itokawa from the IIS, who spent half a year in the United States from 1953, had a different idea and made a proposal to the director of the IIS, Professor Shouji Hoshiai, after his return to Japan.

"America has already entered into the era of the rocket. We should also conduct research on rockets. Let's fly freely in space on a rocket which is very stable even without air, unlike a jet aircraft," said Itokawa.

Itokawa prepared an attractive "Rocket Plan" to produce a supersonic/super high altitude fling vehicle to replace aircrafts as a futuristic transportation system. His plan captured the hearts of young researchers in the Second Faculty of Engineering at the University of Tokyo and many of them got together to work on the project. Even researchers from other fields were attracted. After a provisional meeting in December 1953, a research group named "Avionics and Supersonic Aerodynamics" (AVSA) was founded on February 5, 1954. The fresh group took off with high expectations and aimed to pursue aviation electronics, supersonic aerodynamics and flight dynamics.

Professor Itokawa holding a Pencil rocket
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