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Topics 2019

October 2019

Oct. 25, 2019 Updated
International Space Agencies Meet to Boost Coordination toward Moon-to-Mars Exploration

On October 3-4, 2019, senior managers met in Tokyo for a meeting of the International Space Exploration Coordination Group (ISECG), where JAXA had participated in this board. ISECG, which JAXA has been taking the Chair since 2018, is a coordination forum of 19 space agencies that aims to promote international space exploration.

The agency leaders reviewed the each country’s efforts toward human and robotic space exploration toward Moon and Mars. ISECG leaders also affirmed that the collaborative approaches are the key for the sustainable exploration and released a summary of the meeting.


Summary of the ISECG Meeting in Tokyo

TOKYO – On October 3-4, 2019, senior managers representing 11 space agencies gathered at a meeting of the International Space Exploration Coordination Group (ISECG) with the purpose of promoting coordinated efforts toward human and robotic space exploration on and around the Moon and Mars.

Hosted by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA, as the current chair of ISECG, the participating space agencies reviewed the work of ISECG to foster increased space exploration.

In recognition of the growing global effort and momentum toward going forward to the Moon and Mars, the agency leaders affirmed the importance of collaborative approaches for space exploration. The organisations will be developing an updated reference lunar surface exploration scenario, recognising the shared goal of a sustainable operation on and around the Moon directly contributing to enabling human missions to Mars. The lunar surface scenario will be based on new and updated agency plans and their science goals and technology development strategies.

Sustainability is a key for promoting long-term human exploration. The leaders affirmed the roles of the U.S.-led lunar Gateway, which is critical to lunar surface missions, facilitation of scientific discovery, and future deep space exploration. The agencies also noted the shared interest and importance of potential In-Situ Resource Utilisation (ISRU), including the use of water ice on the lunar surface, which may create opportunities in the coming decades.

The leaders also reaffirmed the significant opportunities in the low-Earth orbit (LEO) including the crucial functions of the International Space Station for the preparation and demonstration of human activities toward the Moon and Mars. The agencies also noted the ongoing efforts in LEO to demonstrate advancing systems and technology readiness for upcoming exploration missions.

Under the growing global support and plans for space exploration, the leaders expressed their intent to engage stakeholders and to increase public support to realise sustainable exploration for future generations.

The leaders noted both the near- and long-term opportunities for increased collaboration. They also noted plans for space agency leadership to gather at the International Astronautical Congress in Washington, DC, later this month, to continue discussions on priorities and opportunities for cooperation. ISECG space agencies welcomed the Romanian Space Agency and Swiss Space Office as new member agencies, and also noted the Luxembourg Space Agency’s recent application for ISECG membership.

The meeting in Tokyo included representatives from the Italian Space Agency (ASI), French Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), Canadian Space Agency (CSA), European Space Agency (ESA), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Polish Space Agency (POLSA), Russian State Space Corporation (ROSCOSMOS), Swiss Space Office (SSO), and the U.K. Space Agency (UKSA).


June 2019

Jun. 27, 2019 Updated
JAXA and CNES Sign Implementing Arrangement on Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) and Hayabusa2

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has agreed to cooperate with Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) on the study-phase activities in JAXA’s Martian Moons eXploration(MMX) mission and analysis of Hayabusa2-returned samples.
Hiroshi Yamakawa, President of JAXA and Jean-Yves LE GALL, President of CNES signed the two Implementing Arrangements for MMX and Hayabusa2 cooperation on June 26, 2019.

On the occasion of the visit by Mr. Emanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, to Japan, the exchange ceremony of the signed two Implementing Arrangements took place at the Prime Minister’s Office of Japan in the presence of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Emmanuel Macron.

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About the Implementing Arrangement concerning cooperative activities related to Martian Moon eXploration (MMX) mission studies

The MMX mission is planned to observe Mars’ two moons, Phobos and Deimos and to collect surface material from one of the moons to bring back to Earth. It aims to clarify the origin of the Martian moons and the process of evolution for Mars region and to improve technologies required for future exploration.
MMX is currently in the phase of preparation for developing a spacecraft and the launch is targeted in FY2024.

CNES will contribute to this mission by providing the near infrared spectrometer (MacrOmega) and the knowledge and expertise of the Flight Dynamics, as well as by conducting studies of rover which is to be equipped on MMX spacecraft jointly with German Aerospace Center (DLR).

For more information on MMX, visit:

About the Implementing Arrangement concerning cooperative activities related to analysis of Hayabusa2 return samples by MicrOmega at JAXA Extraterrestrial Sample Curation Center

Hayabusa2 is a successor of Hayabusa. By investigating the asteroid Ryugu(type-C asteroid)and collecting samples for return to Earth, it aims to clarify the origins and evolution of Earth as well as organic materials that formed the oceans and the life.
Hayabusa2 was launched on December 3, 2014 and arrived at Ryugu in June 2018. It is scheduled to return to Earth at the end of 2020.

Under this agreement, CNES will provide the infrared spectroscopy microscope (MicrOmega) to be equipped in JAXA Extraterrestrial Samples Curation Center. It will contribute to improve the analysis of asteroid samples. In addition, this agreement stipulates the data policy which defines how to share and manage data from the MicrOmega.

For more information on Hayabusa2, visit:

Jun. 20, 2019 Updated
JAXA and DLR Make and Sign Implementing Arrangement on Martian Moons eXploration (MMX)

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has agreed to cooperate with German Aerospace Center (DLR) on the study-phase activities in JAXA's Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) mission.
Hitoshi Kuninaka, Vice President of JAXA and, Hansjörg Dittus and Walther Pelzer, Executive Board Members of DLR have signed the Implementing Arrangement at the Paris Airshow in France on June 18, 2019.

The MMX mission is planned to observe Mars' two moons, Phobos and Deimos and to collect surface material from one of the moons to bring back to Earth. It aims to clarify the origin of the Martian moons and the process of evolution for Mars region and to improve technologies required for future exploration. DLR will contribute to this mission by conducting studies of the rover which is to be equipped on MMX jointly with Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) and by providing JAXA with opportunities of experiments using the Drop Tower in Germany. DLR will also support German scientists for their participation in the MMX mission.

MMX is currently in the phase of preparation for developing a spacecraft and the launch is targeted in FY2024.

For more information on MMX, visit: MMX Web Site.

Jun. 17, 2019 Updated
Agreement with European Space Agency (ESA) for cooperation on the X-Ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission: XRISM

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has agreed to cooperate with European Space Agency (ESA) on the X-Ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission: XRISM.
Hiroshi Yamakawa, President of JAXA and Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Director General of ESA have signed the agreement in presence of ESA Council Delegates at the European Space Operation Center in Darmstadt, Germany on June 14, 2019.

The XRISM project, kicked off in 2018, is the seventh X-ray astronomy satellite program of the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, JAXA. It aims at the early recovery of the prime science objective "to solve outstanding astrophysical questions with high resolution X-ray spectroscopy" of ASTRO-H whose operation was ceased in 2016.

Under the agreement, JAXA and ESA have agreed to apply the cooperation developed through ASTRO-H in XRISM. In addition to contributing to the development of one of XRISM's most important instruments, the Soft X-ray Spectrometer, ESA will also support European scientists for their participation in the XRISM project.

XRISM is currently under development and is scheduled to be launched in FY2021.

For more information on XRISM, visit: XRISM Web Site.

April 2019

Apr. 23, 2019 Updated
CLASP2 Rocket Experiment Launched

The CLASP2 sounding rocket experiment launched on April 11, 2019 at 10:51 a.m. MDT (01:51 a.m. JST on April 12) from the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, USA. It reached 274 km at maximum altitude and observed the Sun for 6 minutes from above 160 km. After the observations, the instrument parachuted down to the White Sands Desert, and was carried back to the laboratory. All the data stored in the instrument were recovered successfully.

CLASP2 Sounding Rocket launch.

CLASP2 Sounding Rocket launch. (credit: US Army Photo, White Sands Missile Range)


March 2019

Mar. 26, 2019 Updated
UNOOSA and JAXA open Fifth Round of KiboCUBE!

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) is pleased to announce the opening of the fifth round of KiboCUBE.

KiboCUBE: Fifth Round
1) Application
Application Submission September 30, 2019
Eligibility Criteria Entities located in developing countries that are member states of the United Nations (please refer to the "Announcement of Opportunity" for further details.
Deployment Deployment expected by March 2021, subject to the ISS operational requirements and progress of the CubeSat development.
2) Selection
Selection and notification of applicants November 30, 2019
Maximum of two entities (1U CubeSat per entity) will be selected.

Please refer to the following website for further details regarding the applications for the KiboCUBE fifth round ("Announcement of Opportunity"). The application due date is September 30. We look forward to receiving many applicants and contributing to the capacity building of your country!

(Reference 1)
KiboCUBE programme is a collaboration programme between JAXA and UNOOSA to offer developing countries the opportunity to deploy small satellites from the Japanese Experiment Module "Kibo" on the International Space Station (ISS).

(Reference 2) Results of past selection
A team from the University of Nairobi (Kenya) was granted for the 1st round of KiboCUBE, and the satellite was deployed from Kibo in May, 2018.
A team from Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (Guatemala) was granted for the second round of KiboCUBE. A team from Mauritius Research Council (Mauritius) and a team from Surya University (Indonesia) were granted for the third round of KiboCUBE. JAXA and OOSA are currently under selection of the fourth round of KiboCUBE.

Successful deployment of 1KUNS-PF (Kenyan Satellite, selected as first round of KiboCUBE) from Kibo in May, 2018

Mar. 1, 2019 Updated
New Dataset Release: GCOM-C/SGLI

JAXA GCOM-C (Global Change Observation Mission - Climate "SHIKISAI") satellite was launched on Dec. 23rd, 2017 to conduct long-term and continuous global observations in order to elucidate the global warming mechanisms related to fluctuations in radiation budget and/or carbon cycles etc.

The onboard sensor SGLI (Second Generation Global Imager) can observe 19 bands of radiations from near-ultraviolet to thermal infrared region (380 nm-12 µm), which yield various physical properties related to cloud, water, snow, ice, aerosol, sea, land, vegetation, biomass, chlorophyll a, and photosynthesis. The spatial resolution and swath of SGLI are 250m and greater than 1,000 km respectively and the whole globe can be scanned approximately in every two days.

SGLI can observe 15 Essential Climate Variables (ECV) such as cloud, aerosols, vegetation, etc. and its data are expected to contribute to improve the projection accuracy of climate change and also to predict fishing grounds, yellow sands, red tides, etc.

The released products can be downloaded via JAXA G-Portal ( https://gportal.jaxa.jp/ )

Contact Point: JAXA G-portal help desk:mailaddress

1. Events after the launch

The data was released as scheduled according to the following operations.
December 23, 2017Launch of GCOM-C (SHIKISAI)
January 1, 2018 Obtained First Light images
March 28, 2018 Started initial calibration and validation operations
December14, 2018Completed initial calibration and validation operations

2. The overview of Initial calibration and validation operations

To detect tiny climate change signals, higher accuracy products are needed. JAXA performed calibration with GCOM-C function using solar light, internal lamps, black body, lunar light and others, and compared (calibration and validation) GCOM-C observation value with ground observation data acquired in cooperation with ground observation networks (Skynet, AERONET and AsiaFlux) and collaborating research institutes (universities, Meteorological Research Institute, JAMSTEC and NOAA). As a result of the calibration, JAXA confirmed that the accuracy of 29 types of products covering land, atmosphere, ocean and cryosphere is attained to start data utilization.

3. GCOM-C/SGCLI Standard Products

Images

Further information for the definition of the product and sample data is available at;

1) Chlorophyll-a Concentration

Images2

Global chlorophyll-a concentration (average of October 2018)

2) Aerosols

Images3

Polarization radiance at 867nm (average from August 11 to 20, 2018)

3) Global vegetation index (NDVI)

The image is a map of global normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) derived from SGLI observation data acquired during January 1st to 9th 2018. NDVI becomes high at active vegetation with high density, indicating the spatial distribution of vegetation on the global scale.

Images4

February 2019

Feb. 25, 2019 Updated
[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] Image from just after touchdown

From February 20 to 22, we conducted the touchdown operation (TD1-L8E1) of Hayabusa2 on the surface of asteroid Ryugu. Figure 1 shows an image taken with the Optical Navigation Camera – Wide angle (ONC-W1) during the spacecraft ascent after touchdown.

Figure 1 was captured roughly 1 minute after touchdown at an estimated altitude of about 25m (error is a few meter). The color of the region beneath the spacecraft’s shadow differs from the surroundings and has been discolored by the touchdown. At the moment, the reason for the discoloration is unknown but it may be due to the grit that was blown upwards by the spacecraft thrusters or bullet (projectile).

Figure 1: Image captured near the touchdown site immediately after touchdown. The photograph was taken with the Optical Navigation Camera – Wide angle (ONC-W1) on February 22, 2019 at an onboard time of around 07:30 JST.
(Image credit: JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, University of Aizu, AIST.)


[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] Image from just after touchdown

Feb. 20, 2019 Updated
H.E. Mr. William F. Hagerty, U.S. Ambassador to Japan, visited Tsukuba Space Center

H.E. Mr. William F. Hagerty, U.S. Ambassador to Japan, visited Tsukuba Space Center on February 15, 2019.

JAXA and the U.S. related organizations have built a long and close relationship in a wide range of activities including the International Space Station and space exploration, Earth and space science, aeronautics research and so on.

Ambassador Hagerty visited the Exhibition Hall "Space Dome" and the Kibo* Mission Control Room, and the Ambassador also met with Dr. Hiroshi Yamakawa, President of JAXA, or other JAXA officials. Both sides exchanged views on aerospace cooperation between JAXA and its counterpart agencies in the U.S.

*Kibo; Japanese Experiment Module of the International Space Station

January 2019

Jan. 21, 2019 Updated
[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] Locations on the surface of Ryugu have been named!

Place names for locations on the surface of Ryugu were discussed by Division F (Planetary Systems and Bioastronomy) of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature and approved in December 2018. We will introduce the place names and the background to their selection.


[HAYABUSA2 PROJECT] Locations on the surface of Ryugu have been named!

Jan. 18, 2019 Updated
Successfully of Epsilon-4 Launch With The Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstoration-1 Aboard

At 9:50:20 a.m. (Japan Standard Time) January 18, 2019 JAXA launched Epsilon-4, the Fourth Epsilon launch vehicle With The Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstoration-1.

From the JAXA Uchinoura Space Center. The launch occurred on time. The launch and flight of Epsilon-4 took place normally. Approximately 51 minutes 55 seconds into the flight, the separation of "The Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstoration-1" proceeded, with confirmation as successful.

Successfully of Epsilon-4 Launch With The Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstoration-1 Aboard

Jan. 16, 2019 Updated
The Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstoration-1 aboard Epsilon-4 launch time decided! Live broadcast from 9:25 a.m. on January 18 (Fri.)

The launch time of the Epsilon-4 with the Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstoration-1 was set for 9:50:20 a.m. on January 18 (Fri.), 2019 (Japan Standard Time.)

JAXA will broadcast a live launch report from the Uchinoura Space Center from 9:25 a.m. on the 18th. You can watch it through the Internet. Please have a look!

The Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstoration-1 aboard Epsilon-4 launch time decided! Live broadcast from 9:25 a.m. on January 18 (Fri.)

Jan. 15, 2019 Updated
The Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstoration-1 launch postponed to Jan. 17 (Fri., JST)

The Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstoration-1 launch postponed to Jan. 18 (Fri., JST)
The launch date of the the Epsilon-4 with the Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstoration-1 has been postponed as unfavorable weather is forecasted. The launch was originally scheduled for January 17. The live broadcast of the launch will also be put off accordingly.

The Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstoration-1 launch postponed to Jan. 17 (Fri., JST)

Updates 2019

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