After almost 20 years of development, the European Space Agency has finally unveiled the BepiColombo Mercury orbiters and confirmed the mission is on track for an October 2018 launch.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the prime contractor for Japan’s next-generation launch vehicle, the H3, says it is on schedule for a first launch in 2020, and will soon learn if the cost-cutting efforts pursued over the past three years will meet the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s goal of halving launch prices compared to the H-2A.
NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA will start work this spring on an orbiting X-ray astronomy telescope to replace one lost shortly after launch last year.
The Japanese parliament will decide by the end of the year whether to fund development of a replacement for the failed Hitomi astronomy satellite, the head of Japan’s space agency said Sept. 22.
NASA is considering building a replacement for an instrument lost on a Japanese X-ray astronomy satellite earlier this year that could fly on another Japanese spacecraft.
NASA and JAXA have started discussions about how to recover the science lost with the failure of Japan’s Hitomi astronomy spacecraft in March, although there appear be limited opportunities by either agency to fly a replacement mission for the foreseeable future.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is working to restore communications with a new astronomy satellite that malfunctioned March 26, generating debris.
As American and Japanese officials praised the strong relationship the two countries share in civil and military space activities, one Japanese officials at a recent forum said he sought to elevate his country’s role in that partnership.