Stories tagged Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

Jun
23
2010

So, this spacecraft that was launched over seven years ago to collect a sample off an asteroid is back? I didn't even know it had left! I am way out of the loop on the activities of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and if this mission is any example, they are doing some sweet stuff.

A Light in the Sky: Hayabusa streaked across the sky through the clouds as it re-entered Earth’s atmosphere over the Woomera Test Range in Australia. In Kingoonya, the spacecraft’s re-entry was visible to the human eye for 15 seconds.
A Light in the Sky: Hayabusa streaked across the sky through the clouds as it re-entered Earth’s atmosphere over the Woomera Test Range in Australia. In Kingoonya, the spacecraft’s re-entry was visible to the human eye for 15 seconds.Courtesy NASA/Ed Schilling
was launched on May 9, 2003 with the intent of it flying to an asteroid, photographing the bejesus out of it, then "landing" on it, collecting a sample and finally returning to Earth. And it did make it to the asteroid and back - returning to Earth on the 13th of June.

Hayabusa did have some troubles along the way – losing a miniprobe to deep space, the failure of two reaction wheels, the failure to properly land and collect a sample (though a sample may still have been obtained)… It was not a flawless mission, but to achieve what they did is no small feat - pretty amazing if you ask me.

Here are some links to learn more.
The JAXA main site.
Hayabusa JAXA mission page.

May
30
2010

The Japanese government has announced plans to create a self sustaining base on the Moon. The downside? It doesn't include accommodations for meatbags like you and me. The base will be constructed by and for robot explorers.Japanese Robot Base: Rendering of the planned robotic moon base to be built by 2020
Japanese Robot Base: Rendering of the planned robotic moon base to be built by 2020Courtesy Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency

The plan is multi-phased, starting with a robot arriving around 2015. The robot will use HD video cameras to survey the area in preparation for the construction of the base. As far as I know, this will be the first high resolution video of the lunar surface (that is, taken from the surface).

By 2020, the robot will establish a power supply along with the rest of the base. The details of what this base will actually be comprised of is unclear at this point, but there are plans to be able to send interesting specimens back to Earth.

You win this round, robots.

Jun
07
2009

More spectacular views from the moon

A Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) satellite known as Selene or Kaguya is going to impact the moon Wed., June 10.

HD video of Earth rise as seen from lunar orbit

What impresses me most about this mission are the high definition videos of the moon, and especially one of Earth rising over a lunar landscape.

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Sources

Thanks to MetaFilter and Kottke.org for the links.

I love to go to Minnesota Twins games when they have the paper airplane promotions. It's so fun to see the Metrodome air currents flooded with paper flyers. Japanese officials are thinking even bigger paper airplane thoughts as this article explains.

Mar
08
2008

Dextre robot addition to ISS
Dextre robot addition to ISSCourtesy Canadian Space Agency

STS-123's 16 day mission

The space shuttle Endeavour's STS-123 crew is on track for a March 11 launch to the space station for a marathon construction flight expected to last about 16 days. The busy construction flight will include five spacewalks to assemble the Canadian Space Agency's two-armed robot Dextre, install the first segment of Japan's massive Kibo laboratory, test a shuttle heat shield repair method and deliver spare parts to the ISS. Europe's maiden ISS cargo ship Jules Verne will hover nearby, waiting to deliver its load of cargo.

Japan will add components to the ISS

Japanese astronaut Takao Doi will help deliver the storage room for his country's Kibo laboratory to the ISS for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Japan's Kibo facility consists of a storage pod, a massive pressurized laboratory and an external platform equipped with its own robotic arm.

Canadian Space Agency will assemble a huge robot

Putting together Dextre, a Canadian robot, will be one of the main jobs for the seven Endeavour astronauts. Standing 12 feet tall and 8 feet wide, Dextre has two 7 jointed arms that are each 11 feet long.

Repairing heat shield tiles

When the space shuttle Atlantis flies to repair the Hubble Space Telescope in August, any damage to its space tiles will need to be repaired in space. Waiting for rescue at the space station will not be an option. A practice run of such a repair will be carried out on this mission.

Learn more - 114 page info packet

For a really complete information package describing the STS-123 mission in detail you might check out this 114 page press release (4.4MB, pdf).