Video: YouTube Space Lab Competition Launched

Video Caption: We’re excited to announce YouTube Space Lab, launching with Lenovo and Space Adventures in cooperation with NASA, ESA and JAXA. Watch amazing space and science videos and, if you’re 14 to 18 years old, submit a space experiment idea for your chance to win out-of-this-world prizes. Find out more at Music composed by Aurotone.

JAXA Cleans Up on AIAA Awards

AIAA PR — The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) will present awards recognizing key achievements in space science and technology, space program management, and sustained service to the Institute, at a noon awards luncheon on September 28 as part of the AIAA SPACE 2011 Conference & Exposition, September 27–29, at the Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach, Calif. JAXA’s Hayabusa and ETS-VII/JEMS teams will received awards during the ceremony.


Japanese Eye Bigelow Module for Station Expansion

Bigelow's space station would have space to accommodate up to 12 people. (Photo: Douglas Messier)

NewScientist reports that NASA isn’t the only space agency interested in attaching a Bigelow module to the International Space Station:

Bigelow Aerospace of Las Vegas, Nevada, which has built an expandable Kevlar-based space station module, is currently working on two ISS-related deals. Bigelow director Mike Gold, a member of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee, says the firm is in “advanced discussions” with the commercial Japanese Manned Space Systems Corporation (JAMSS) – which operates the Kibo module on the ISS for the Japanese Space Agency JAXA – to provide it with an orbiting habitat.

The module could be rented out as an ISS storage unit, making the station less dependent on frequent resupply flights, says Hiroshi Kikuchi of JAMSS. To show that the modules are capable of safe, crewed operation, Bigelow is also negotiating with NASA to attach one to a US-owned ISS module.

Thanks to Clark Lindsey of HobbySpace for finding this gem.

ISS Partners Discuss How to Use Station as Technology Test Bed

International Space Station

NASA PR — WASHINGTON — The Multilateral Coordination Board (MCB) for the International Space Station partner agencies met Tuesday, July 26, to discuss how to use the space station as a test bed for technologies that will enable missions beyond low Earth orbit.

The board will begin identifying several specific technology collaboration initiatives based on possible future missions suggested by the International Space Exploration Coordination Group. These technology developments and demonstrations on the station could support voyages to an asteroid or Mars or the development of lunar habitats.


JAXA Certifies Three New ISS Astronauts

JAXA PR — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has been providing basic training to be certified as an astronaut for the International Space Station (ISS) to astronaut candidates Kimiya Yui, and Takuya Ohnishi since April 2009, and also to astronaut candidate Norishige Kanai since September 2009. The three candidates have completed all their basic training requirements, thus they were certified as ISS astronauts on July 25, 2011.


Valve Failure Wrecked AKATSUKI’s Venus Orbit Attempt

JAXA's Akatsuki Venus spacecraft. (Image by Akihiro Ikeshita)

JAXA PR — JAXA made the following report at the AKATSUKI’s third investigation meeting for the Space Activities Commission on June 30.

As a result of analysis and verifications of the AKATSUKI’s anomaly cause estimated at the first and second investigation meetings, the highest possibility was found to be damage to the thruster nozzle of the orbit maneuver engine due to closure of the check valve during the orbit injection maneuver.

We will determine if we can reignite the damaged thruster nozzle through a ground test as well as an emission test of the onboard engine. Based on the results of these tests, we will prepare for an orbit injection maneuver to Venus hoping for the AKATSUKI to meet with Venus in November 2015.

NASA to Broadcast HTV Launch, Docking Operations


The launch of the H-II Transfer Vehicle “Kounotori2” (HTV2) planned for Thursday, Jan. 20, was rescheduled due to a forecast for weather conditions that would exceed launch restrictions. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency reset the launch for 11:37 p.m. CST on Friday, Jan. 21.

NASA still plans live television coverage of the launch from Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan. With an adjusted rendezvous plan, the grapple and attachment of the cargo ship to the International Space Station remain planned for Thursday, Jan. 27, and also will be covered live on NASA Television.

NASA TV’s updated programming schedule for HTV2 events includes (all times CST):

Friday, Jan. 21:

11 p.m. — Launch coverage, anchored from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, begins. Launch is scheduled at 11:37 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 27:

5 a.m. — Grapple coverage, anchored from Johnson, begins. The grapple of HTV2 is scheduled at 5:44 a.m.
8 a.m. — Berthing coverage, anchored from Johnson, begins. The attachment should be complete at approximately 10 a.m.

For more information about Kounotori2 and the H-IIB launch vehicle, visit:

For more information about the International Space Station, visit:

For NASA TV downlink, schedule and streaming video information, visit:

Japan Delays HTV Launch

The launch of the H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 2 (H-IIB F2) with the KOUNOTORI2 (HTV2, a cargo transporter to the International Space Station) on board has been rescheduled as clouds including a freezing layer that exceeds the restrictions for suitable weather are forecast to be generated at around the scheduled launch time on January 20, 2011 (Japan Standard Time.)

The new launch day will be no earlier than January 22 (Sat.,) 2011 (Japan Standard Time, JST).

The launch was originally scheduled for 3:29:19 p.m. on January 20 (Thur.,) (JST) from the Tanegashima Space Center.

The new launch day and time will be announced as soon as it is decided.

Source: JAXA PAO

Schedule for H-IIB Launch Next Week


KOUNOTORI2/H-IIB F2 live launch broadcast starts at 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 20!

JAXA will broadcast a live launch report of the KOUNOTORI2/H-IIB Launch Vehicle No.2 from 2:30 p.m. on January 20 (Thur.) You can watch the live report at public viewing sites including JAXA offices and science museums as well as through cable TV and some websites. Why don’t you watch the live launch with us?

Broadcast Schedule

  1. KOUNOTORI2(HTV2)/H-IIB No.2 Launch:
    from 2:30 p.m. on January 20 (Thu, JST) (for one and a half hours)
  2. Final Approach to the ISS, Capture by the SSRMS:
    from 7:50 p.m. on January 27 (Thu, JST) (for one hour)
  3. HTV docking with the ISS:
    from 10:30 p.m. on January 27 (Thu, JST) (for one hour)

The rocket will send the second HTV (named “KOUNOTORI” or “white stork”) aloft with supplies for the International Space Station.


JAXA Completes H-IIB Cryo Test, HTV 2 Set to Go for ISS Flight

Dec. 16, 2010

On December 16, JAXA and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. conducted a cryogenic test of the H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 2 (H-IIB F2) at the Tanegashima Space Center. The launch vehicle and the ground system were connected for the test and all the launch operation procedures just prior to ignition were simulated in the same manner as on the launch day. As a result, no problem was found in functions and data of the launch vehicle and the ground system. We will thus move forward to be ready for launch.

The launch of the H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 2 (H-IIB F2) with the H-II Transfer Vehicle 2 (HTV2, a cargo transporter to the International Space Station) onboard was reported to the Space Activities Commission (SAC) is as follows.

Scheduled date of launch: January 20 (Thursday), 2011 (Japan Standard Time, JST)
Launch time: Around 3:29 p.m. (JST)*1
Launch windows: January 21 (Fri.) through February 28 (Mon.), 2011 (JST)*2
Launch Site: Yoshinobu Launch Complex at the Tanegashima Space Center

(*1) Time will be determined by the updated orbit of the International Space Station (ISS.)
(*2) The launch day and time during the launch windows shall be decided by the international coordination for ISS operations.

Amid Celebrations Over Dragon’s Success, Gloom Across Three Continents Over Space Failures

NanoSail-D - Lost in space? (Credit: NASA)

As upstart SpaceX was feted this week for the successful flight and recovery of its first Dragon spacecraft, engineers on three continents were puzzling out the reasons behind three high-profile failures in space, demonstrating anew the challenges associated with the difficult field.

In Russia, officials watched as a Proton rocket sent three navigational satellites to the bottom of the Pacific off Hawaii, delaying the nation’s efforts to provide full global coverage for its GLONASS program. Japanese engineers scratched their heads over why their Akatsuki probe ended up in orbit around the sun instead of Venus. And NASA is not quite sure what happened to an experimental solar sail satellite that blasted off into space from Alaska.


Japanese Akatsuki Spacecraft Misses Orbit With Venus

JAXA's Akatsuki Venus spacecraft. (Image by Akihiro Ikeshita)


The Institute of Space and Astronautical Science of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (ISAS/JAXA) performed Venus orbit insertion maneuver (VOI-1) for the Venus Climate Orbiter “Akatsuki” at 8:49 a.m. on December 7 (Japan Standard Time,) but, unfortunately, we have found that the orbiter was not injected into the planned orbit as a result of orbit estimation.

The “Akatsuki” was launched from the Tanegashima Space Center on May 21, 2010 (JST.)


Hayabusa’s Haul Could Help JAXA to Avoid Cutbacks

Gov’t cost-cutting panel recommends maintaining space project budget
Mainichi Daily News

The government’s cost-cutting panel, tasked with identifying wasteful public projects, recommended on Nov. 18 that current budget allocations for space projects be maintained.

The recommendation comes just days after the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) confirmed particles contained in a capsule from the space probe Hayabusa — which returned from the Itokawa asteroid in June — were extraterrestrial.