JAXA Call for Participation in Kibo Robot Programming Challenge

Japanese KIBO module

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will host a programming competition involving free-flying robots1 of JAXA and NASA in ISS/Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) known as “Kibo”.

The preliminary round of this competition will be between April and June 2020, with the final round being around September 2020. Starting today (October 11, 2019) until March 19, 2020 (17:00 JST), JAXA is calling for the participation of students in this competition on the following website.

【Entry details】
http://iss.jaxa.jp/en/kuoa/krpc/

【Entry Qualification2
Students up to graduate school students in Kibo-ABC member countries including Japan.

The participants will create programs to operate free-flying robots in ISS/Kibo and complete a mission.3 The competition will entail a time requirement and problem-solving ability.

This activity is based on Japan-U.S. cooperation through the Japan-US Open Platform Partnership Program (JP-US OP3). In order for JAXA and NASA to expand Kibo utilization in the Asia-Pacific region, an education program for operating robots and computer programming is being offered to students in Japan and the Asia-Pacific region.

1. An autonomous flying robot intended to support astronauts (by taking photos, etc.)

2, Asian Beneficial Collaboration through Kibo Utilization (Kibo-ABC) is a collaborative program aiming to promote Kibo utilization in the Asia-Pacific region. Prospective participants must submit an application form to the space agency of their Kibo-ABC member country participating in the Kibo Robot Programming Challenge. Kibo-ABC; http://www.aprsaf.org/initiatives/kibo_abc/

3, Participants shall create programs to move the free-flying robot autonomously using the virtual simulator provided by JAXA and NASA.

China Launch Surge Left U.S., Russia Behind in 2018

Long March 2F rocket in flight carrying Shenzhou-11. (Credit: CCTV)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The year 2018 was the busiest one for launches in decades. There were a total of 111 completely successful launches out of 114 attempts. It was the highest total since 1990, when 124 launches were conducted.

China set a new record for launches in 2018. The nation launched 39 times with 38 successes in a year that saw a private Chinese company fail in the country’s first ever orbital launch attempt.

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NASA Television to Air 10 Upcoming Spacewalks, Preview Briefing

NASA astronauts Nick Hague (top) and Anne McClain work to swap batteries in the Port-4 truss structure during today’s spacewalk. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Astronauts aboard the International Space Station plan to conduct what may become a record pace of 10 complex spacewalks during the next three months, a cadence that has not been experienced since assembly of the space station was completed in 2011.

Experts will discuss those plans in a briefing at 2 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Oct. 1, at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Live coverage of the briefing and all spacewalks will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

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Japanese Cargo Vehicle Attached to Space Station

Sept. 28, 2019: International Space Station Configuration. Five spaceships are attached to the space station including Japan’s HTV-8 cargo craft with Russia’s Progress 73 resupply ship and Soyuz MS-12, MS-13 and MS-15 crew ships. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR)_ — Ground controllers successfully installed the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Kounotori 8 H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-8) to the Earth-facing port of the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 10:09 a.m. EDT.

Named Kounotori, meaning “white stork” in Japanese, the craft delivered six new lithium-ion batteries and corresponding adapter plates that will replace aging nickel-hydrogen batteries for two power channels on the station’s far port truss segment. The batteries will be installed through a series of robotics and spacewalks the station’s crew members will conduct later this year.

Additional experiments on board HTV-8 include an upgrade to the Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF-L), a small-sized satellite optical communication system (SOLISS), and a payload for testing the effects of gravity on powder and granular material (Hourglass).

For updates about the crew’s activities on the unique orbiting laboratory, visit:  https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram at: @iss and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

NASA, JAXA Issue Joint Statement Pledging to Explore the Moon

Artist’s rendering of an ascent vehicle separating from a descent vehicle and departing the lunar surface. (Credit: NASA)

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)


Joint Statement on Cooperation in Lunar Exploration

During their September 24, 2019, meeting at JAXA Headquarters in Tokyo, NASA Administrator James Bridenstine and JAXA President Hiroshi Yamakawa welcomed the ongoing engagement between their agencies to realize JAXA’s participation in NASA’s Artemis program and vision for the participation of Japanese astronauts in lunar exploration.

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Japan Launches Supply Ship to Space Station

TANEGASHIMA SPACE CENTER, Japan (MHI PR) — At 1:05:05 a.m., September 25, 2019, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) launched the H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 8 (H-IIB F8) which carries aboard the H-II Transfer Vehicle “KOUNOTORI8” (HTV8), the cargo transporter to the International Space Station (ISS), from the JAXA Tanegashima Space Center.

H-IIB F8 flight proceeded nominally. Approximately 15 minutes 2 seconds after launch, as planned, the payload separated from the launch vehicle.

MHI expresses sincere appreciation for the support by all.

NASA to Air Rescheduled Launch, Capture of Cargo Ship to Space Station

Canadarm2, the ISS’s robotic arm, grapples and berths unpiloted resupply ships, a manoeuvre known as a “cosmic catch.” (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — A Japanese cargo spacecraft loaded with more than four tons of supplies, spare parts, and experiment hardware is scheduled to launch from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan to the International Space Station at 12:05 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Sept. 24 (1:05 a.m. Sept. 25 in Japan). Live coverage on NASA Television and the agency’s website will begin at 11:30 a.m.

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Launch of Japanese Cargo Ship Rescheduled for Wednesday

Canadarm2, the ISS’s robotic arm, grapples and berths unpiloted resupply ships, a manoeuvre known as a “cosmic catch.” (Credit: NASA)

TOKYO (MHI PR) — Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) has revised the launch schedule of the H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 8 (H-IIB F8) which carries aboard the H-II Transfer Vehicle “KOUNOTORI8” (HTV8), the cargo transporter to the International Space Station (ISS) from the JAXA Tanegashima Space Center.

Launch Date: Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019 at 1:05 am JST (Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 1605 UTC/12:05 pm EDT)*1
Launch Window: Sept. 26 through Oct. 31, 2019

The changes will be made based on the results of the latest orbit based analysis (※ 1) of the International Space Station and Soyuz spacecraft. It was revealed there’s a possibility that the 2nd stage of H-IIB rocket after separation from “KOUNOTORI8” may approach the Soyuz spacecraft.

MHI canceled the launch of the H-IIB F8 on September 11 due to a fire at the movable launch pad exit hole during the countdown operation.

As a result of the investigation, it was confirmed that there was a high possibility that the fire spread due to the static electricity generated by the oxygen dripping from the engine exhaust port during the propellant filling operation, which continued to blow on the heat-resistant material in the exit hole at the movable launch pad.

We have taken corrective measures and have confirmed normal functioning of the rocket and facility.

*1: Collision Avoidance Analysis to prevent collision between the rocket and debris from the rocket and manned space systems (Space Station, etc.) in orbit after launching the rocket. The launch was previously rescheduled for September 24, 2019.

The launch time is subject to change as the ISS orbit is updated.

Launch time and date during this period are pending, determined by the ISS operations and other status.

A New Journey into Earth for Space Exploration

Astronauts from five space agencies around the world take part in ESA’s CAVES training course– Cooperative Adventure for Valuing and Exercising human behaviour and performance Skills. (Credit: ESA – A. Romeo)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Six astronauts, five space agencies and a fresh start into underground worlds to help prepare for living on other planets. ESA’s latest training adventure will equip an international crew with skills to explore uncharted terrains on the Moon and Mars, this time with a focus on the search for water.

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Hayabusa2 Releases Target Markers in Advance to Another Rover Landing

The target markers are in preparation for the landing of the MINERVA-II2 Rover-2 on the surface of asteroid Ryugu in October.

JAXA, UAE to Cooperate on Educational Project on Space Station

UAE astronaut Hazzaa Al Mansoori holds Int-Ball training model. (Credit: MBRSC)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) of the United Arab Emirates will cooperatively perform an educational project that uses JAXA’s “Int-Ball”, a camera robot for the International Space Station, when the UAE astronaut gets on board the International Space Station for the first time.

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Japanese H-IIB Booster Suffers Fire on Launch Pad

The rocket remains intact, but the H-IIB rocket will not launch the HTV cargo ship to the International Space Station today.

This is a developing story. I will update as JAXA releases more information.

JAXA, Ricoh Develop Compact Spherical Camera for Use in Space

SOLISS system flight model (Credit: JAXA/Sony CSL)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Ricoh Company, Ltd. (Ricoh), today announced that they have jointly developed a spherical camera that can be used in outer space (outside the spacecraft) to capture 360-degree spherical images in a single shot.

This camera will be used as to monitor the operation of the biaxial gimbal of the SOLISS (Small Optical Link for International Space Station). (*1) It will be carried aboard the H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV8) “KOUNOTORI-8”, the cargo transporter to the International Space Station (ISS), which is scheduled for launch on September 11th, 2019.

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Japanese Cargo Ship Set to Launch to ISS

H-II Transfer Vehicle KOUNOTORI8, the cargo transporter to the International Space Station (ISS), will launch aboard the H-IIB Vehicle No. 8 from JAXA Tanegashima Space Center as follows:

Date: Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Time: 6:33 a.m. JST (2133 GMT /5:33 p.m. EDT Tuesday, September 10)
Reserved Launch Period: September 12 through October 31, 2019
Arrival at ISS: Evening of September 14, 2019

JAXA Spacecraft to Carry Science, Technology to the Space Station

HTV in flight (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) cargo ship H-II Transfer Vehicle-8 (HTV-8) is scheduled to lift off Sept. 10 at 5:33 p.m. EDT (6:33 a.m. Japan Standard Time) to the International Space Station from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center, 10 years after JAXA launched its first HTV mission. HTV-8 arrives at the space station on Sept. 14.

Here are details about some of the scientific investigations and facilities heading to the orbiting lab on HTV-8.

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