JAXA: Japan’s Ticket to Space

Who is JAXA -  Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency?

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, most commonly known as JAXA, is the country’s research arm for space exploration. They pioneer explorative research topics by garnering processable data from outer space explorations and observations.

This aerospace agency is the largest of its kind not only in Japan but in Asia as well. The organization focuses not only on space travel but also in the learning of Earth behaviors, interplanetary probes, and the like. They truly maximize the potential of Japanese research and combines them with robotics and engineering to make sure that every mission is a success. They are in constant collaborations with other aerospace organizations like that of Russia and France - enough to get them a working space in these countries.

In total, JAXA has multiple organizations each has a goal of its own. One of these would be the Institution of Space and Astronautical Science. Another organization focuses on a human flight while another focuses on satellite development and space transportation. Through the decades, Japan is known to have relative success in launching unmanned flights to orbit.

In history, JAXA was the unification of three independent space agencies in Japan. One of these used to be known as NASDA or National Space Development Agency of Japan. Many of the most notable Japanese astronauts are known to be pioneers of this space organization.

JAXA Japan Location

JAXA has a significant number of field offices not only in Japan but all over the world. They have research centers, testing centers, and even Earth observation centers. They also have their own communication centers and campuses.

JAXA Tsukuba Japan Space Center

The Tsukuba Space center is one of the largest field facility of JAXA which has a total land area of 530,000 square meters. Known as the TKSC, this place is responsible for the development of the majority of the space satellites launched by JAXA. It is also their responsibility to provide astronaut training and promote manned missions to orbit. It is also their job to launch space transportation systems outside the Earth for observation.

JAXA Tokyo Japan

This is known to be the main headquarters of the JAXA operations all over the world. It is located in Chofu city and it holds many departments, facility, and offices dedicated to the management of satellite applications and operations. This place can be similar to NASA’s Houston office.

Field offices outside of Japan

What is interesting about this is that JAXA has multiple offices outside of Japan. They have two US offices located in Washington and Houston. They also have a Paris office and a Moscow office - two places in the world where JAXA has the most collaborations and cooperations with. They also have an Asian office located in Bangkok.

JAXA Research Stations Japan

There are multiple offices located all over Japan, each has a role to play in the further expansion and development of JAXA. For instance, they have a campus in Sagamihara the home of their ISAS. They have a large testing facility in Noshiro. They have space centers in Kansai, Tanegashima, Nagoya, and much more. They even have a regional satellite center for monitoring disaster management. 

Things to know about JAXA Japan Aerospace

Institute of Space and Astronautical Science

Majority of the roles being played by JAXA is research. It is the role of the aerospace agency to create a full understanding of the many relationships between the Earth and other worldly bodies. The Institute of Space and Astronautical Science is one of Japan’s largest research organizations that focuses on outer space missions, rocket development, interplanetary probes, and more.

In history, the ISAS was a college department from the University of Tokyo. Professors from this institution encouraged their students with valuable research, as they have been experimenting with possible space flight since the early 1960s. They have had Ballooning experiments, rocket developments, and more. Soon as the institution expanded and developed, they have grown to be an institution independent of the University of Tokyo.

Together with NASDA, the ISAS is one of the largest chunks in the merge (or cooperation) to develop what is now known as JAXA. The combination of the hardware from NASDA and the theories from ISAS turned JAXA into a success.

Young Fellowships JAXA

Known as the ITYF, JAXA has their own fellowship grants. ITYF stands for International Top Young Fellows. It is a research position available for young researchers from anywhere in the world. It is the job of JAXA to fund these works because they see a potential in the study. If they believe that the study will prove valuable in the exploration of outer space, then the ITYF grant is a special yearly search.

JAXA Astronauts

Japan has trained several astronauts of their own but they have never developed their own Human Space Program. In total, there are 10 active astronauts who work for JAXA.

Some notable JAXA astronauts through the years are as follows:

Koichi Wakata - a man who has traveled to the International Space Station in flight with Russian Soyuz missions. He stayed in the ISS for a total of 347 days, probably the longest a Japanese has ever stayed outside of the Earth.

Akihiko Hoshide - He started working with JAXA in the early ‘90s and has pioneered many of its maiden missions. He has helped in the development of a number of JAXA’s rockets. He was also the support of Koichi Wakata. He was able to go outside of the Earth aboard the Soyuz - TMA flight in 2004, making him the third Japanese to walk outside of the Earth.

Takuya Onishi - He has been selected to travel to the ISS to engage in Scientific experiments. Other than that, this man is an aquanaut. He has joined deep sea explorations known as NEEMO 15. He along with other crew members spent 24 hours under the sea.

Kimiya Yui - He is known to be the first Japanese astronaut with a military background. He journeyed to the ISS as a part of the Expedition 44/45 in flight Soyuz-TMA-17M. He has also served as an aquanaut for NEEMO 16. He has also become the chief of JAXA’s astronaut group.

Naoko Yamazaki - She is the second Japanese woman to travel to the ISS.  She has spent a mere 15 days in space when she was aboard the shuttle Discovery in 2010.

The focal point of the majority of JAXA’s activities is to create observations of the surrounding celestial bodies and their relationship with the Earth. Another focal point of the majority of their missions are the observations of the Earth’s behaviors. They have launched satellites to monitor rainfall and Carbon dioxide levels. They are also planning to launch a satellite that would monitor the extent of disaster damage not only in Japan but all over the world.

Throughout the years, JAXA has been creating exploratory missions in space. They have successful lunar explorations, explorations of Mars, Venus, and other neighboring planets. This is to observe their terrain, their temperature, and even their climatic behaviors.

On the other hand, it is within the plans of JAXA to send manned missions to outer space in the near future. They have presented their manned capsule concepts in a few space conferences in the world. They will start by developing an unmanned, reusable transfer vehicle before fully upgrading this to a capsule able to carry humans inside.

First Japanese in Outer Space

The first man who was able to travel outside of the Earth was Toyohiro Akiyama. He is a journalist who went aboard the Russian space rocket known as Soyuz-TM11. What is interesting about his flight was that he traveled to the Mir space station instead of the ISS and spent a total of seven days in orbit. He is known to be Russia’s first commercial passenger in their first commercial space flight.

Different JAXA Japan Jobs                                                                                                             

Professor Jobs

Since the majority of the role of JAXA is to develop studies, topics, and researchers about probes, explorations, space transportation (or vehicle) development and the like, it is without a doubt that there are opportunities for professors of a variety of levels. There is a job opening for associate professors, full-time professors, and even junior associates.

Internship Opportunities

For those who are passionate about the science of space, there are a significant number of slots open for internships not only in the various Japan offices but off-shore offices as well. These internship opportunities could potentially open up to larger and more important roles with the organization.

Most Famous JAXA Space Activities

Among the space activities that JAXA is most proud of would their astronomy exploration missions. Their first X-ray astronomy probe was launched in the late 1970s before JAXA became an actual organization. They also boast of their infrared explorations, solar probes, and their radio probes.

Another proud moment for the Japanese was the official launch of the Epsilon rocket which is a fast-traveling, supersonic aircraft which is aimed to be the commercial replacement of the famous fast-bus Concorde. The study has been put to a halt due to some financing issues as large scale companies like Mitsubishi have no interest in sponsoring.

The future also looks quite promising for the organization. One of the kat awaited would be the EarthCare mission which is a more high-end tool to monitor the Earth. There had also been some announcements that JAXA will launch its first manned flight in the year 2022. There are announcements yet to be made to say if this will push through or not. However, JAXA has been quietly working in the background and impressed other nations by their concept presentations of their manned capsules.

Famous JAXA Rockets

Japan launched their first satellite in the 1970s and called it Osumi. During this time, Japan used American models and have yet to develop their own rockets. It took them quite a few decades to successfully create their own history-making rocket.

Out of the different organizations that were merged to develop and form JAXA, it is NASDA who provided the most promising knowledge about rockets. They have developed what is known as the HI-IIA and HI-IIB, both of which are successful in the launch of unmanned satellites to orbit.

Other than this, JAXA has a few other rockets as well. This includes their Epsilon rocket which was responsible for launching the X-ray astronomy observation mission. JAXA also has rockets to orbit the upper atmosphere of the Earth and this includes the S-520, S-310, and the SS-520.

Tips to Remember for a JAXA Japan Visit

For those who want to explore the wonders of Space Travel, there is a place which could give more information than a space museum. JAXA field offices are a great place to learn and to be exposed to the developments of space travel.

One important tip to remember is that not all JAXA offices are open to the public, especially peak seasons like the month of June. A short research about this might be a helpful idea so as to not waste time traveling. For instance, the Tsukuba office is open to visitors while the Tokyo headquarters is not.

Another important note to remember is the fact that there is a limited time frame for which visitors can enter offices. This is to make sure that visits will not be able to disturb or disrupt ongoing crucial operations and research activities. Reading about this ahead is also a helpful tip.

A guided tour is also more valuable than a self-made tour. This is so that trivial and small interesting details about JAXA, its history, its offices, and its staff will be put in the limelight.

It is also best to check the regulations during a visit. There might be chances that there are items which cannot be recorded, there are also some spots where photos are not allowed. Take note of certain areas which are prohibited from the visiting public.

One other important tip to remember is that one must always enjoy such a valuable learning experience. The Japan Aerospace agency is the largest of its kind in the country, opening their doors for learners only proves that they want the public to be more knowledgeable and involves.