JAXA Vision Into Action
In April 2005, JAXA released its twenty-year vision statement. An organization such as JAXA cannot function without a management philosophy and vision. Making things happen in space often takes years of preparation. We have set twenty-year goals, but this does not mean that we should not hurry. We should start with programs that will yield early results, so that the public can see the benefits of our work sooner rather than later.

I believe the most important part of the JAXA Vision is space utilization, which has never before been emphasized enough. We have proposed the development of a space-based disaster management system. This system cannot be operated by JAXA alone, but someone has to take the initiative, so JAXA has taken this on. At a conference of Asian countries in October, we tabled a proposal for the structure of such a system, which would involve all Asian countries working together. Most of the participating nations have agreed to take part, and the rest are considering the plan. It will take a few years to make such a system a reality, but we have taken the first steps.

In addition, I would like to initiate a new global project to observe changes in the environment. The Space Activities Commission has already taken environmental issues into account, and has approved the start of such a project. Based on the ten-year plan we have devised for this project, JAXA will work continuously to develop satellites and observation devices.

The key to bringing the JAXA Vision to life lies in taking advantage of the ideas, creativity and positive attitude of each JAXA employee. Therefore, I ask my colleagues to think proactively about how they can contribute, rather than just waiting to be assigned a task. I would also like to recruit staff internally to start new projects. It will be an interesting approach to our "One JAXA" motto. I am looking forward to hearing new ideas. I believe that we will be able to get this going this year, in 2006.



The Birth of the Aviation Program Group
Last October, JAXA launched a new department, the Aviation Program Group. In Japan, apart from private sector manufacturers, JAXA is the only national organization that does aviation research. However, although "aero" is part of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency name, JAXA is usually referred to in the media as the "space agency," and aviation tends to be forgotten. This has prompted us to launch a new group that will make our aviation activities more visible, and give our aviation scientists stronger motivation as well.

If the 20th century was the era of the automobile, the 21st century will be the era of aircraft. Japan's aviation industry will need to bear this in mind as it develops further. For instance, I would soon like to see domestic aircraft manufacturing in Japan. Our first domestic aircraft, YS-11, was built about 40 years ago, and all of the planes are due to retire this year. This is another reason that the production of domestic aircraft needs to become a priority. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry already has plans in place for the development of new aircraft, and JAXA plans to participate extensively in the program.

JAXA's supersonic aircraft development program took a step forward last year. We had a successful test flight of a scaled supersonic experimental airplane at the speed of Mach 2, in Woomera, Australia. This was an unmanned flight, but we would like someday to achieve manned hypersonic flight at Mach 5. Hypersonic aircraft will probably be used for return travel between continents, so the development of such planes will happen in collaboration with aviation industries in other countries. In order to collaborate successfully with international partners, it is very important for Japan to be aware of its abilities and strengths. Now, with JAXA's long-term vision having been clarified, the path forward has been set.
Test flight of a scaled supersonic experimental airplane in Australia (Photo)

Test flight of a scaled supersonic experimental airplane in Australia

Next Generation Supersonic Transport (SST) (Illustration)

Next Generation Supersonic Transport (SST)


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