Kazuki Shiibashi

Kazuki Shiibashi
Japan Gives Up On Astro-F Space Telescope 

TOKYO — Japan has terminated operations for its first infrared space telescope, Astro-F, after controllers were unable to restore battery operations aboard the satellite.

This satellite had renewed the 20-year-old all-sky maps made by Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS), a joint project of the U.S., U.K. and the Netherlands.

Japan Halts Efforts To Recover Earth Observation Satellite 

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) terminated efforts on May 12 to recover the five-year-old Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS).

The spacecraft experienced an anomaly on April 22 that placed it into a low-power mode, shutting down all imaging instruments. The power loss remains under investigation. The results will be reported to the Space Activities Commission of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, according to a JAXA statement.

Bombardier Expands China Presence With New Financing, Support Options 

Bombardier Aerospace is laying the groundwork for expanding its presence in the emerging Chinese market with a new financing agreement and increased support.

Bombardier signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the leading leasing company in China, ICBC Financial Leasing Co., to secure up to $8 billion in financing for Bombardier customers, as well as for maintenance, service and production initiatives. The financing covers advanced payment, delivery and leasing options for both Bombardier business and commercial aircraft customers.

Second Japanese Cargo Carrier Safely Berthed To ISS 

TOKYO and HOUSTON — The International Space Station (ISS) crew successfully grappled and berthed Japan’s unmanned HTV-2 space freighter during rendezvous operations early Jan. 27, initiating two months of external robotic as well as internal cargo off-loading.

HTV-2 Cargo Ship On Way To Dock With ISS 

TOKYO — Japan’s second unmanned H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-2), launched from the Tanegashima Space Center on Jan. 22., is due to dock with the International Space Station on Jan. 28 at 4:00 a.m., Japan time, to deliver supplies and instruments.

HTV-2 Rescheduled For Jan. 22 

HTV LAUNCH: Japan’s second H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-2) launch is now rescheduled for approximately 2:38 p.m. on Jan. 22 (Japan Standard Time). An earlier launch target had to be scrapped due to expected icy clouds over Tanegashima Space Center. The HTV-2 will be the second Japanese cargo ship to dock with the International Space Station, following the successful visit of the first HTV in September 2009.

Japan Postpones HTV-2 Launch 

HTV DELAY: The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has postponed the scheduled Jan. 20 launch of the second H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-2) due to unfavorable weather forecasts at Tanegashima Space Center. The new date will be no earlier than Saturday, Jan. 22 (Japan Standard Time). The launch window for the mission remains open until Feb. 28. HTV-2 is an unmanned cargo supply ship designed to dock with the International Space Station. It follows the successful demonstration of the first HTV, which docked with the station in September 2009.

Japanese Venus Probe Fails To Make Orbit 

TOKYO — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has confirmed that its “Akatsuki” Venus probe failed to enter orbit, but the project team still hopes to salvage the mission.

Project Manager Masato Nakamura says if the Akatsuki satellite can hold on in space for the next six years, Venus will come round again and provide another opportunity for orbital injection.

“I would like to say, with hope, that when the time comes we should then have a high probability of success,” Nakamura said Dec. 8.

Status Of Japanese Venus Orbiter Uncertain 

TOKYO — Japan’s “Akatsuki” orbiter reached Venus Dec. 7 local time, but controllers at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) believe the spacecraft may have put itself into safe mode, and cannot yet determine whether the orbital insertion procedure went according to plan.

The plan was to inject Akatsuki (which means “Dawn” in Japanese) into a westward elliptical orbit at an apogee of 80,000 km. (50,000 mi.) and a perigee of 200 km., to specifically match Venus’s rotation.

Japan Says Some Hayabusa Material Definitely From Asteroid 

TOKYO—Japan’s Hayabusa sample-return probe collected and returned material from the asteroid Itokawa in its troubled seven-year mission, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) reports.

Analysis of some 1,500 particles of material found in the sample-return canister reveals that “most of them were judged to be of extraterrestrial origin, and definitely from Asteroid Itokawa,” JAXA says in announcing the findings.

Japan Orbits GPS-Aiding Satellite 

TOKYO — A new Japanese satellite launched Sept. 11 should eventually provide better navigation coverage over Japan.

The Quasi-Zenith System is designed to fly much higher than GPS satellites at an altitude of roughly 40,000 km. (25,000 mi.), supplementing and correcting GPS signals from its higher vantage point and providing better coverage to Japanese users despite mountainous terrain or high buildings.

Hayabusa Team Finds Particles In Sample Canister 

TOKYO — Japan’s Hayabusa team has found some small particles in its sample capsule, although it is too early to say whether these particles are from the Itokawa asteroid.

“It’s good news that the capsule wasn’t empty, but we still need to examine whether these particles are from Earth or from Itokawa,” Project Manager Junichiro Kawaguchi says.

JAXA Searching HayabusaCapsule For Samples 

Experts have started opening the sample canister from the Hayabusa asteroid mission after its safe recovery in the Australian outback June 13, but it remains to be seen if it actually contains material from the asteroid Itokawa.

Hayabusa landed twice on the small, potato-shaped asteroid Itokawa in November 2005, following its launch May 9, 2003, on an M-V rocket. But the sampling procedure did not go as planned, and it could take as long as six months to determine whether Hayabusa returned with any samples.

Hayabusa Sample Capsule Appears In Good Condition 

TOKYO—The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) Hayabusa’s asteroid sample return capsule arrived at its Curation Center in Samagihara on June 18.

Examining the capsule closely for the first time, Hayabusa Project Manager Junichiro Kawaguchi remarked upon its condition, saying that even the heat shields looked almost “brand new” and “unaffected” by their reentry. “Originally I imagined it would come back half destroyed and in really bad condition,” Kawaguchi says. “But in actual fact, the capsule looked more like a newborn infant.”

Japanese Asteroid Sample Return Capsule Recovered 

TOKYO — The Japanese Hayabusa spacecraft successfully capped off its 6 billion km. trip by releasing its asteroid sample capsule for a successful re-entry and retrieval in Australia on June 13.

The process went so well that Project Manager Junichiro Kawaguchi expressed disappointment at having to cancel his prescheduled trip to Australia, saying there was nothing else he could do at the landing site within the Woomera Prohibited Area.

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