JAXA Gets Modest Budget Increase, Sets Sights on New Launcher

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

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
President Naoki Okumura
January Press Conference

Cabinet Approval of JFY 2015 Budget

The original Japan Fiscal Year 2015 budget was approved by the Cabinet on Jan. 14. JAXA’s total budget is 154.1 billion yen [$1.29 billion], about 400 million [3.35 million] less than that of JFY 2014 of 154.5 billion yen [$1.3 billion]. However, a supplementary budget of 29.9 billion yen [$250 million] was already set, thus the total will be 184 billion yen [$1.54 billion]. So, incorporating the supplementary budgets, the JFY 2015 JAXA budget is about a 2.5 billion yen [$21 million] increase from the 2014 budged of 181.5 billion yen [$1.52 billion].

The following are major points of the JFY 2015 budget:

  • 12.5 billion yen [$104.5 million] was allocated for a new flagship launch vehicle that is slated for launch in 2020. It is an increase of 5.5 billion yen [$46 million] compared to JFY 2014.
  • 5.1 million yen [$42.6 million] was newly set for developing an “advanced optical satellite” to achieve unprecedentedly broad and high-resolution land observations, which no country has ever previously attained.
  • 3.1 billion yen [$25.9 million] was assigned to start developing an “optical data relay satellite” for optical communication to realize a data transmission speed of more than twice as much of that by radio frequency (1.8 Gbps.)
  • 900 million yen [$7.5 million] was newly allocated for launching a small satellite by the Epsilon launch vehicle to set up an innovative satellite technology verification program for novel space technology.
  • 11.4 billion yen [$95.3 million] was set for launching the next X-ray astronomy satellite “ASTRO-H” in JFY 2015.

As you can see, we received budget allocations for newly launched missions, thus we are working hard to cope with expectations.

New “Basic Plan on Space Policy”

On Jan. 9, the new “Basic Plan on Space Policy” was decided by the Strategic Headquarters for Space Policy. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe instructed JAXA and other related ministries to steadily follow the plan to make it a success. Thus JAXA, as a core space development agency which supports the Japanese government’s space development, keeps firmly promoting research and development for satellites, launch vehicles, space exploration and other aerospace areas.

2015 Schedule of Activities

Let me briefly introduce this year’s scheduled activities.

From April, JAXA will begin activities as a “national research and development agency.” As such, we have to carry out our missions to maximize the purpose of this state policy.

A research and development agency is expected to “optimize R&D results representing all of Japan.” Hence JAXA is expected not only to work hard as an R&D agency but also to contribute to generating innovation allover Japan by disseminating JAXA’s achievements.

Accordingly, our working practices within JAXA may differ from our conventional ways.

Astronaut Kimiya Yui will stay at the ISS as a 44/45 expedition crew member from the end of May to November this year. He will perform space experiments and other activities.

In December, we plan to conduct an Earth swing-by of the Asteroid Explorer “Hayabusa2” and orbit re-injection of the Venus Climate Orbiter “AKATSUKI.”

JAXA’s JFY 2015 launch schedule includes launches of the KOUNOTORI-5, a cargo transporter to the ISS, and the next generation X-ray Astronomy Satellite “ASTRO-H.”

As you can see, the next fiscal year will be another significant year for JAXA as we have to play an important role as a national research and development agency for new missions being planned, while many events have already been scheduled.

Application of Hayabusa2 Power Technology

As part of the commercialization of R&D achievements, JAXA proposes technology for power peak cuts stemming from the Asteroid Explorer “Hayabusa2.” We have made available the communication information to apply this technology for electric appliances as an open platform. This communication technology enables us to control and prioritize power for multiple electric appliances simultaneously based on infrared communication media. We hope that it will be applied to many electric appliances by loading onto an open platform.