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More Than 60 Years of Space Development at JAXA

The video this time is titled "JAXA - The History of Japanese Space Exploration" (JAXA-日本の宇宙開発史ハイライト-), released by "JAXA | Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency."

By looking up at the starry sky, many people ponder their own thoughts... we've been gazing up at the sky as a source of wisdom since ancient times.
There was a time in Japan, too, when Onmyodo (the way of Yin and Yang) played an active role in politics by reading the movements of the stars and predicting good fortune.
There's truly an inseparable link between humans and the cosmos.

It is often misunderstood that Japan lags behind Europe and the United States in space development, but in fact, Japan has devoted more than 60 years to space development and is now one of the most successful countries in the world.
JAXA plays a central role in Japan's space development.
In this article, we’ll introduce the history of JAXA's space development. Be sure to follow along with the video!

The History of Jaxa's Space Development

Image of Moon landing
Photo:Moon landing

JAXA is the core organization for space development in Japan. It was established at the Tanegashima Space Center (TNSC) in 2003 through a merger between the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), the National Aerospace Laboratory (NAL), and the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA).
The three predecessor organizations were all privately funded space development agencies, but after being reborn as JAXA, they became the core organization supporting the Japanese government's space development research.

The latest Japanese space probes have the world's leading technology.
Here are some of JAXA's accomplishments that have left their mark on history.
・In 2007, the world's first high-definition image of the moon by the Lunar Explorer KAGUYA. (Video: 0:47〜)
・In 2009, the Japanese Experiment Module "Kibo" was completed. (Video: 0:53〜)
・In 2010, the planetary probe "Hayabusa" returned to Earth after successfully collecting surface samples from an asteroid. (Video: 0:58〜)
・In 2019, "Hayabusa2," an observation rocket, successfully touched down on the asteroid Ryugu. (Video : 1:00〜)
JAXA has accomplished many great feats in the 17 years since it was founded.

Japan's Space Development Before the Birth of JAXA

Japan's space development began in 1955 with the development of the Pencil Rocket, a very small rocket, as introduced in the beginning of the video.
Just ten years after the war, Japan had already begun its domestic reconstruction and space development.

In 1970, Japan's first satellite, "OHSUMI," was successfully launched.
In 1985, Halley's comet was observed by "Suisei," in 1992, Mamoru Mohri became the first Japanese person to fly in space aboard a space shuttle, and in 1994, the Japan-made H-II rocket was successfully launched.
Japan has a long history of great achievements even before the birth of JAXA.

Summary of JAXA and Japan's Space Development

Image of rocket

It is said that Japan's space development had been attracting a great deal of attention after its Pencil launch test in 1955.
The Pencil Rocket was nicknamed the "baby rocket" because of its extremely small size, with three types being developed: the S-type, T-type and R-type.
At that time, the Pencil Rocket was already moving at close to the speed of sound, and the orbital data was utilized for the later Kappa Rockets.
Back then it was thought to be impossible for Japan to develop a sounding rocket that could operate at an altitude of more than 100 km, but Japan succeeded in doing so using domestic technology alone.

Although the U.S. and the Soviet Union have been the major space powers, Japan's technological prowess has been adopted by other countries for their rocket development.
In particular, the latest engine technology of "Hayabusa" and remote-control technology will be a great asset to the history of space development to come.

【Official Website】JAXA|Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

Written By
Last Updated : Nov. 24, 2021
児玉 勇(Yu Kodama)
A writer who loves Japan and yakitori

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Japan's Space Development Started in 1955 With Pencil-Sized Rockets That Were Just 20 cm Long! Since Then, Japan’s Space Development Technology Has Advanced at an Explosive Pace, and It Now Leads the World With Its Cutting-Edge Technology!
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