Human Space Activities / Utilization of the Space Environment

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The Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo” of the International Space Station is conducting new experiments everyday. In addition, the development of the HTV-X, an advanced version of the KOUNOTORI (HTV) cargo transporter to the ISS, is underway. Taking advantage of Japan's unique technologies and knowledge acquired through a number of missions so far, JAXA will strategically expand its space activities and promote international space exploration for Japan and the international community.

About Human Space Activities

Space Environment Utilization and Space Experiment

By capitalizing on the space environment that is quite different from that of the Earth, JAXA conducts various research including R&D for new materials and for medical innovation.

International Space Station (ISS) and Japanese Experiment Module "Kibo"

At the International Space Station (ISS) flying 400 kilometers above the Earth, astronauts reside and perform various scientific experiments. The Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo” has a special feature of the Exposed Facility, where an experiment can be conducted outside the ISS (= an experiment instrument is exposed to the space environment), in addition to the inside facility. No other countries have such an outside facility.


JAXA currently has five astronauts. As missions imploving astronauts will likely expand from now on to include lunar orbit and the lunar surface. JAXA recruited 2 Astronaut Candidates in 2023.


JAXA is working to promote the private sector's utilization of “Kibo” and as the first step, Space BD Inc. and Mitsui & Co., Ltd. were selected from the private sector to provide small satellite deployment services from Kibo (2018). Through this, 70% of the available deployment capabilities were transferred to these companies. As the second step, Space BD was selected from among private companies to provide services using IVA-replaceable Small Exposed Experiment Platform (i-SEEP), one of the external experimental equipment of “Kibo” (2019). JAXA will continue to encourage private companies to come up with unique ideas that use Kibo to provide wide-reaching services both in and outside of Japan, thereby further increasing private sector's utilization of “Kibo” and expanding the demand for its usage.

The new cargo transporter to the International Space Station (HTV-X) is an unmanned spaceship under development to acquire a spacecraft system with the potential for improving transportation capability and operability, which can be utilized for various missions in the future, while maintaining KOUNOTORI's superiority. The capacity and payload will be increased and it will become possible to load cargos up to 24 hours before launch and conduct experiments in orbit after the transportation of supplies. In addition, JAXA plans to transport supplies to the Lunar-Orbital Platform-Gateway under consideration.