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May 24, 2022 Updated
Automatic acquisition and tracking technology successfully demonstrated in optical communication experiments between an optical ground station and an optical communication terminal on a small satellite

JAXA successfully demonstrated automatic acquisition and tracking technology in optical communication experiments of 1.5㎛ band between the optical ground station (60cm) at JAXA Nyukasa optical observatory in Ina city, Nagano prefecture and the OSIRIS optical communication terminal of the Institute of Ccommunications and Navigation of German Aerospace Center(DLR) on the Flying Laptop satellite of the University of Stuttgart.

JAXA has been conducting the research and development of technologies which receives the weak downlink light from a satellite by a small telescope of an optical ground station and automatically acquires and tracks it by the image processing technology for future practical applications for high-speed optical communications between space and ground.

Based on our joint research between JAXA and DLR*1, we conducted optical communication experiments between the JAXA optical ground station(60cm) and the optical communication terminal (OSIRIS-V1*2 ) on the small satellite (Flying Laptop), built and operated by the University of Stuttgart. In this experiment, it was confirmed that the weak downlink light was automatically acquired and very accurately tracked by our developed image processing technology and the downlink light was received and consequently the automatic acquisition and tracking technology was realized.

In this automatic acquisition and tracking technology, an automatic function of discriminating, acquiring, guiding the light from a high-speed flying object to the center of field of view and continuing to track it sequentially by controlling the azimuth and elevation of the telescope through tracking sensors for wide and narrow angles on the optical ground station, was demonstrated by our developed image processing technology. At the optical ground station, a unique fiber with a larger incident aperture and a mechanism to amplify received light are incorporated to realize a more compact receiver system.

Optical communication technology between space and ground is expected to be utilized in high-speed communications for commercial satellites and the moon and planetary missions as communication measures of high-capacity and high-speed communications without constraints of frequency bandwidth and others.
It is expected that demonstrated technology will contribute to expansions of the future utilization by downsizing the receiver system of the optical ground stations and reducing operational burdens through it and also it is considered it can be further used for other applications, because of automatic acquisition and tracking of the light from high-speed flying objects. We will continue to work on acquiring necessary technologies, including two-way optical communications.

May 20, 2022 Updated
Renewal of the Earth Observing Dashboard,  Joint analysis website of JAXA, NASA, and ESA using Earth observation data

 Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), in cooperation with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and European Space Agency (ESA), has analyzed changes in the global environment and socio-economic activities using Earth observation satellite data in order to understand the impact of the COVID-19 from space. We have made the results of this joint analysis available on the "Earth Observing Dashboard", the joint website of the three agencies, since June 2020.

 In order to better contribute to our understanding of global and diverse environmental changes, we have expanded the scope of our website into six new independent fields: Atmosphere, Agriculture, Biomass, Water and Ocean, Cryosphere, and Economy in addition to COVID-19, and have relaunched the Earth Observing Dashboard.

 Through the Earth Observing Dashboard, we hope that Earth observation satellite data will be utilized as objective perspectives and information for a broader understanding of global-scale issues such as environmental change and climate change, as well as the social and economic impacts caused by them.

Earth Observing Dashboard
Link:   http://eodashboard.org
Open Date:May 20th, 2022(JST)


Fig.1:Earth Observation Dashboard Landing Page

Apr. 25, 2022 Updated
Tsukuba Space Center Visit of U.S. Ambassador to Japan

On April 21, 2022, H.E. Mr. Rahm Emanuel, Ambassador of the United States of America to Japan, his wife, and his team visited the JAXA Tsukuba Space Center. Dr. YAMAKAWA Hiroshi, President of JAXA, introduced the Ambassador to spacecraft integration and test facility, International Space Station (ISS) Kibo Mission Control Room and the exhibition hall “Space Dome”. He also explained JAXA’s activities conducting with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) such as achievements based on Japan-United States Open Platform Partnership Program, study status towards the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway and development of X-Ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM). H.E. Mr. Rahm Emanuel, Ambassador expressed his expectations to Japan’s space leadership.

Apr. 12, 2022 Updated
JAXA and German Aerospace Center (DLR) Signed Inter-Agency Arrangement

 JAXA and DLR signed the Inter-Agency Arrangement for Strategic Partnership on April 5 at the occasion of the Space Symposium taking place in Colorado Springs, U.S. This arrangement builds on the collaborative relationship formed in the former framework concluded in 2016 between the two agencies and will pave the way for a further collaboration of JAXA and DLR.

This arrangement includes several new cooperation topics such as Space Sustainability, on top of the ongoing broad cooperation in the area of Earth Observation, ISS and Micro-G-Research, Exploration and Space Science, Space Transportation, Research and Development (Space Systems and Space Technology), Industrial promotion, and Aeronautics. Besides that, this arrangement is expected to further streamline the discussion for aeronautics cooperation.

 JAXA has promoted various collaborations with DLR as a strategic partner and will continue this collaborative relationship based on the new arrangement.

 JAXA President Yamakawa Hiroshi said: “DLR has been our outstanding strategic partner for JAXA based on the former framework concluded in 2016. The new Inter-Agency Arrangement for Strategic Partnership on which we made signatures today will pave the way for a further collaboration of JAXA and DLR, and also expand the areas of our cooperation to cover Space Sustainability as well as Research and Development for Automation and Robotics as new ones. We are very much pleased to further strengthen our partnership based on this new Arrangement.”

“German-Japanese cooperation has been characterised by successful joint space missions, such as Hayabusa2. Extending this cooperation to aeronautics research, with the goal of emission-free air transport, is a clear step,” said Anke Kaysser-Pyzalla, Chair of the DLR Executive Board.

Walther Pelzer, DLR Executive Board Member and Head of the German Space Agency at DLR, was present at the signing. He emphasised: "Germany and Japan share the same values and face similar societal challenges. Japan is therefore an ideal partner for contributing to a modern, mobile, and economically and ecologically responsible society through space research."


Walther Pelzer, Member of the DLR Executive Board (left) and Yamakawa Hiroshi, JAXA President (right)

Apr. 8, 2022 Updated
Bilateral Meeting with NASA Administrator, Sen. Nelson

Dr. YAMAKAWA Hiroshi, President of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) had a bilateral meeting with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrator, Sen. Bill Nelson at NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C. on April 7, 2022. Dr. YAMAKAWA and Sen. Nelson exchanged prospects on JAXA=NASA collaboration and confirmed the importance of international partnerships.

Dr. Yamakawa Hiroshi, JAXA President (left) and Sen. Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator (right) (©NASA)

Dr. Yamakawa Hiroshi, JAXA President (left) and Sen. Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator (right) (©NASA)

Dr. Yamakawa Hiroshi, JAXA president holding a meeting with Sen. Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator(©NASA)

Dr. Yamakawa Hiroshi, JAXA president holding a meeting with Sen. Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator(©NASA)

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