Koichi Wakata, JAXA vice president and astronaut, helps chart future of ISS and human space exploration
Koichi Wakata, the Japanese space agency’s vice president and director general for human spaceflight technology, is intimately familiar with the International Space Station. As an astronaut, he helped assemble the space station in 2000 and lived onboard for four months in 2009 and six months in 2013 and 2014.
Uncertainty over the timing of the orbiting outpost’s retirement and the eventual transition to one or more new platforms is making it challenging for companies to attract investors and plan for the future.
The head of NASA’s human spaceflight program says he would like to see a decision made in the next two years on whether and how International Space Station operations will be extended beyond 2024.
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.