Luxembourg, Japan Sign Space Cooperation Agreement

LUXEMBOURG, November 29, 2017 (Luxembourg PR) – The Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, represented by the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Economy, Étienne Schneider, and the Cabinet Office of Japan, represented by Masaji Matsuyama, Minister of State for Space Policy, signed today in Tokyo a memorandum of cooperation on exploration and commercial utilization of space resources.

Within its initiative, Luxembourg offers commercial companies an attractive overall environment for space resource exploration and utilization related activities, including but not limited to a legal regime. The Grand Duchy is the first European country to offer a legal and regulatory framework addressing the capability of ownership of space resources and laying down the regulations for the authorization and the supervision of such missions in space.

The five-year cooperation agreement between Luxembourg and Japan covers the exchange of information and expertise on the exploration and commercial utilization of space resources and intends to further enhance cooperation in the field of space activities. The exchange of information may cover all the issues of the exploration and commercial utilization of space resources, including legal, regulatory, technological, economic, and other aspects.

Luxembourg’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy Etienne Schneider declared:

After the agreements signed with Portugal and the United Arab Emirates, this is another important step forward in enhancing international cooperation. Our common approach and goals will surely open new collaboration opportunities. The agreement is a solid recognition of our initiative, especially as Japan and more precisely JAXA have a strong experience in space missions and have been initiators of the renowned Hayabusa missions to collect samples from an asteroid and return them to Earth.

Japan Plans Sample Return from Martian Moons

MMX on-orbit configuration (Credit: JAXA)

Japan is planning a complex mission that will study the moons of Mars and return soil samples to Earth.

Set for launch in September 2024, the Martian Moons Exploration (MMX) mission would spend three years exploring Phobos and Deimos before departing in August 2028 for a return to Earth 11 months later.


Mechanism Underlying Size-Sorting of Rubble on Asteroid Itokawa Revealed

Asteroid Itokawa (Credit: JAXA)

By Greta Keenan
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology

In 2005, the Hayabusa spacecraft developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) landed on Itokawa, a small near-Earth asteroid named after the famous Japanese rocket scientist Hideo Itokawa. The aim of the unmanned mission was to study the asteroid and collect a sample of material to be returned to Earth for analysis. Contrary to scientific predictions that small asteroids are barren nuggets of rock, photographs taken by the Hayabusa spacecraft revealed that the surface of Itokawa is strewn with different sized particles. Even more puzzling was the lateral separation of small and large particles – with large boulders occupying the highlands and small pebbles occupying the lowlands.


Worldwide Launches Hit 20-Year High in 2014

Orion Exploration Flight Test launch. (Credit: NASA)
Orion Exploration Flight Test launch. (Credit: NASA)

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

It was a banner year for launches worldwide in 2014, with the total reaching a 20-year high as Russia and India debuted new launch vehicles, NASA tested its Orion crew spacecraft, China sent a capsule around the moon, and Japan launched a spacecraft to land on an asteroid.

There were a total of 92 orbital launches, the highest number since the 93 launches conducted in 1994. In addition, Russia and India conducted successful suborbital tests of new boosters.


Hayabusa2 on its Way to a Rendezvous With an Asteroid

Hayabusa2 launch aboard a H-2A rocket (Credit: JAXA)
Hayabusa2 launch aboard a H-2A rocket (Credit: JAXA)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully launched the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 26 (H-IIA F26) with the Asteroid Explorer “Hayabusa2” onboard at 1:22:04 p.m. on December 3, 2014 (Japan Standard Time, JST) from the Tanegashima Space Center.

The launch vehicle flew as planned, and at approximately one hour, 47 minutes and 21 seconds after liftoff, the separation of the Hayabusa2 to earth-escape trajectory was confirmed.

JAXA received signals from the Asteroid Explorer “Hayabusa2” at 3:44 p.m. on December 3, 2014 (Japan Standard Time) at the NASA Goldstone Deep Space Communication Complex (in California) and confirmed that its initial sequence of operations including the solar array paddle deployment and sun acquisition control have been performed normally.

The explorer is now in a stable condition.

The Asteroid Explorer “Hayabusa2” is a successor to the “Hayabusa”, which verified various new exploration technologies and returned to Earth in June 2010. The “Hayabusa2” is setting out on a journey to clarify the origin and evolution of the solar system as well as life matter. The “Hayabusa2” will find out more about the world.

With a launch success rate for H-IIA/B launch vehicles at 96.7%, this launch confirms the quality and reliability of the H-IIA/B.

We would like to express our profound appreciation for the cooperation and support of all related personnel and organizations that helped contribute to the successful launch of the H-IIA F26.

Hey Scientists, You Want to Examine an Asteroid Sample?

1st International Announcement of Opportunity for
HAYABUSA Sample Investigation

JAXA PR — Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has been engaged in initial analysis* of Itokawa’s sample brought back by HAYABUSA. On this occasion we would like to inform you of offering the announcement of opportunity for HAYABUSA Sample Investigation.

Through the peer review, JAXA will provide HAYABUSA sample to researcher who submits research proposal in the framework of this Announce of Opportunity (herein after referred as “AO”). This AO is planned to be conducted a few times. The 1st International AO issues on January 24th 2012.


JAXA Cleans Up on AIAA Awards

AIAA PR — The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) will present awards recognizing key achievements in space science and technology, space program management, and sustained service to the Institute, at a noon awards luncheon on September 28 as part of the AIAA SPACE 2011 Conference & Exposition, September 27–29, at the Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach, Calif. JAXA’s Hayabusa and ETS-VII/JEMS teams will received awards during the ceremony.


Hayabusa’s Haul Could Help JAXA to Avoid Cutbacks

Gov’t cost-cutting panel recommends maintaining space project budget
Mainichi Daily News

The government’s cost-cutting panel, tasked with identifying wasteful public projects, recommended on Nov. 18 that current budget allocations for space projects be maintained.

The recommendation comes just days after the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) confirmed particles contained in a capsule from the space probe Hayabusa — which returned from the Itokawa asteroid in June — were extraterrestrial.


Hayabusa Brought Back Particles From Asteroid Itokawa


The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has been engaged in collecting and categorizing particles in the sampler container* that were brought back by the instrumental module of the asteroid exploration spacecraft “Hayabusa.”

Based on the results of the scanning electron microscope (SEM) observations and analyses of samples that were collected with a special spatula from sample catcher compartment “A”, about 1,500 grains were identified as rocky particles, and most of them were judged to be of extraterrestrial origin, and definitely from Asteroid Itokawa.


JAXA Gets OK for Hayabusa 2, Small Launch Vehicle

Asteroid probe, rocket get nod from Japanese panel
Spaceflight Now

The board governing Japan’s space program last week formally approved a successor to the Hayabusa asteroid explorer and the Epsilon small satellite launch vehicle to continue development.