Smallsat 2016: Japan Increases Participation in Conference

Ikaros solar sail CubeSat (Credit: JAXA)
Ikaros solar sail CubeSat (Credit: JAXA)

Japan increased its presence at the Small Satellite Conference in Utah this week, with 21 organizations displaying their capabilities and a presentation by the University of Tokyo about the nation’s smallsat programs.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan (METI) participated in the conference for the first time, setting up a booth where the Japanese space agency JAXA, 18 companies and two universities advertised their capabilities (see the list below).

“Japanese companies wish to set sail for the global markets,” METI said in a press release. “Japan Booth participants can introduce a variety of space products and services such as materials, parts, subsystems, systems (CubeSats etc.) and services (ground support, launch etc.).

“We believe that this event will be great opportunity to suppliers, integrators, and service providers worldwide. In addition, we will have an opportunity to hold unveil Ceremony for the portal website [] that introduces products and services provided by Japanese companies so that all space customers may easily access ‘what they want’ by using this portal website.”

Shinichi Nakasuka of the University of Tokyo also gave a presentation about Japan’s smallsat activities. The following summary is drawn from Tweets by Jeff Foust (@jeff_foust) and
David Hurst ‏(@OrbitalDave).

Japanese Smallsat Efforts
Shinichi Nakasuka, University of Tokyo

  • JAXA has launched many small and relatively small satellites over the years on science and exploration missions
  • CubeSat XI-IV is still returning images today after 13 years in space
  • IKAROS was first interplanetary solar sail spacecraft
  • IKAROS tested thin-film solar cells and photon propulsion
  • Good strategies include standardized low-cost satellite bus, low-cost launchers and the use of small satellites as precursors for larger missions
  • 10 cubic cm “rental spaces” available to customers on the Hodoyoshi 3 & 4 spacecraft
  • Rental terms include power and data

Japan Booth Participants

  • Digital Signal Technology Inc.
  • IHI Aerospace Co,. Ltd.
  • Infostellar, Inc.
  • Interstellar Technologies Inc.
  • Japan Manned Space Systems Corporation
  • Japan Space Systems
  • JAXA
  • Junkosha Inc.
  • Kyocera Corporation
  • Kyushu Institute of Technology
  • Mitsubishi RayonCarbonFiber and Composites, Inc.
  • NEC Space Technologies, Ltd.
  • RFtestLab Ltd.
  • Sagami Tsushin
  • Shimafuji Electric Inc.
  • Space Shift Inc.
  • Tamagawa Seiki Co., Ltd.
  • University of Tokyo