Renovation of Launch Facilities for H3 Launch Vehicle

The ML has two umbilical masts (posts) colored in white and light blue. Reaching the total height of 66.5 meters and having the 7-meter high upper deck, this massive structure is extremely impressive. (Credit: JAXA)

KOGOSHIMA SPACE CENTER, Japan (JAXA PR) — The development of JAXA’s new rocket, the H3 Launch Vehicle, is steadily advancing toward the first launch in FY2020. Here at the Tanegashima Space Center (TNSC), renovation and construction work is also under way to prepare the launch facilities for the H3 rocket.

Its highlights are a new Movable Launcher (ML) and its transporters Dollies. The ML is a platform on which parts transported from factories are assembled into a rocket in the Vehicle Assemble Building. Before launch, a rocket on the ML is carried by the Dollies to the launch pad.

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Arianespace, ESA Announce EarthCARE Launch Contract

PARIS (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace and the European Space Agency (ESA) today announced the signature of a launch services contract with a Soyuz launch vehicle for the EarthCARE satellite.

EarthCARE (Cloud, Aerosol and Radiation Explorer) satellite – the sixth mission in ESA’s Earth Explorer program – will advance our understanding of the role clouds and aerosols play in reflecting incident solar radiation back into space and trapping infrared radiation emitted from Earth’s surface.

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JAXA Developing New Sealing Technology to Protect Equipment from Lunar Dust

Seal under development. (Credit: JAXA)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — The Research and Development Directorate is conducting research and development in a variety of areas, with a focus on the two categories of “leading research” that will create “future,” and “Research for Secure Development and Success of Missions” that will connect “now” and “the future.”

One of such research and development is the dust-proof sealing technology for exploring the polar regions of the moon’s surface. Seals prevent leakage of liquids and gas from within the equipment, and also prevent external foreign substances such as dust and fine sand from entering into the equipment. Using an example from what we see in our daily lives, the waterproofing packing used around the faucets are also a type of such seals.

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Japan Mission Seeks to Achieve Precision Landing on Moon

SLIM lunar spacecraft (Credit: JAXA)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — There is a huge difference in the significance of being able to land where it is easier to land, and being able to land where you want to land. Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM), which is scheduled for launch on the H2A rocket in FY 2021, aims to achieve the latter.

It is an unmanned, small-sized moon landing demonstration probe developed for the purpose of verifying high precision landing technologies. While the order from various countries in moon landing accuracy is in units of kilometers, SLIM aims to answer to an order of 100 meters.

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JAXA Collaborating with Private Businesses on Innovative Projects

A meal aboard a future station on the moon. More than 50 companies, universities, research institutions, and other organizations are participating in the Space Food X project to resolve issues related to the production and supply of food, both on Earth and in outer space. (Credit: JAXA)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — The aim of the Business Development and Industrial Relations Department is to make space business a major industry in Japan, and to have projects and technologies related to space become something that is commonly found in our everyday life. The department conducts various efforts that would lead to expanding our usage of space and to help promote the space industry.

One of such efforts is the research and development program that was launched in May 2018–the space innovation partnership called J-SPARC. Private businesses with ideas on space business join forces with JAXA in bringing together human resources and funds to collaborate on creating new concepts, from the time of the planning stage. This is an open innovation program based on a system of partnership, where necessary technological developments and verifications are conducted with the aim of giving birth to new business opportunities.

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Fourth H3 First Stage Engine Test is Successful

H3 first stage engine test. (Credit: JAXA)

ODATE CITY, Japan (JAXA PR) — Space exploration is not possible without the technology to transport people and things into space. The Space Transportation Technology Directorate that works with rockets, which are the only means for space transportation, is currently in the middle of developing the new H3 rocket. JAXA and many private companies are working together as one toward the goal of launching this rocket in FY 2020.

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Japan to Develop Gateway Habitat, Resupply Vehicles

Gateway with Orion over the Moon (Credit: ESA/NASA/ATG Medialab)

The Ashahi Shimbun reports that Japan has formally signed on to NASA’s lunar Gateway project with specific elements to develop.

Japan’s space agency plans to take charge of development of a habitation module and an unmanned logistics vehicle for the Gateway cislunar space station as part of an international project….

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) hopes to showcase the country’s excellence in technologies with an eye toward having a Japanese astronaut included in the lunar mission.

JAXA plans to work with its European counterpart to develop the habitation module by drawing on technologies it cultivated during the development and operation of the International Space Station’s Kibo experiment module, including one for recycling air and water aboard a spacecraft.

It also plans to take charge of resupplying goods using the HTV-X, a spacecraft under development as a successor to the Kounotori (HTV) unmanned transfer vehicle, seven units of which have been launched successfully.

JAXA, Ricoh Release 360-degree Spherical Pictures & Videos Captured on ISS

Spherical image shot in outer space converted to flat image. (Credit: Ricoh)

TOKYO, October 17, 2019 (Ricoh PR) – Ricoh Company, Ltd., (Tokyo, Japan) today announced that the 360-degree spherical camera jointly developed with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully captured 360-degree spherical pictures and videos in outer space. The pictures and videos were released today.

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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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