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JAXA

— Space

Akatsuki probe enters orbit around Venus

Space exploration rarely gives second chances, but the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) took advantage of a big one today. The Agency has confirmed that its Akatsuki space probe has successfully made it into orbit around the planet Venus on its second attempt. The first try was way back on December 7, 2010, when a malfunction of the main engine sent the spacecraft back into orbit around the Sun.

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— Space

First commercial launch for Japan's H-IIA rocket platform

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have announced that the Telesat Telstar 12 VANTAGE satellite today made a successful launch from the Yoshinobu launch pad at the Tanegashima Space Center. The broadcast and telecommunication satellite lifted off at 3:50 pm JST atop the upgraded H-IIA Launch vehicle No. 29 (H-IIA F29). The launch was the first using the H-IIA upgraded second stage and the first commercial launch for the platform.

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— Space

Study suggests an even distribution of elements throughout the universe

A new study carried out by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) suggests that when the universe was between two to four billion years old, the elements used to create everything from the largest star to the human race were evenly spread across a vast area of the cosmos. The study focused on an enormous structure of galaxies known as the Virgo Galaxy Cluster, which sits roughly 54 million light years from Earth and harbors over 2,000 galaxies.

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— Space

Soyuz spacecraft docks with ISS despite failing to deploy solar panel

A Russian-made Soyuz TMA-17M blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome last night, as it undertook a journey to the International Space Station. Aboard the spacecraft was NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Kimiya Yui. The initial launch proceeded without incident, with the rocket successfully reaching preliminary staging orbit. However, soon after reaching space it became apparent that the spacecraft's port solar array had failed to open.

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— Space

ESA to collaborate with Japan in daring asteroid mission

ESA has announced its intent to aid the Japan Aerospace and Exploration Agency (JAXA) with its ambitious Hayabusa-2 mission to retrieve material samples from an asteroid, and return said samples to Earth by the year 2020. Following a successful launch last December atop a H-IIA rocket, the probe will now benefit from 400 hours of tracking and telemetry from ESA's 35 m (115 ft) diameter dish at Malargüe, Argentina. Read More
— Space

Japanese space agency uses worms to help understand bone loss in astronauts

Mankind is not built for life in space. This is one of the fundamental truths that we have been forced to come to terms with during the short period in which humanity has frequented low-Earth orbit. In an effort to better understand the detrimental effects of microgravity on the human body, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is conducting a pair of experiments centering around observing the tiny roundworm, Caenorhabditis Elegans. Read More
— Space

New crowdsourcing project calls on citizen scientists to catalog images of cities at night

A new crowdsourcing initiative is calling upon the public to help catalog the ever increasing library of images snapped of our planet, and more importantly its cities, at night from the International Space Station (ISS). With your help, the Cities at Night project could help map light pollution spanning the course of the 16 year period in which the images where taken, with the added bonus of giving volunteers the opportunity to flick through a catalog of stunning images that highlight the mark we make on our planet at night. Read More
— Space

Hayabusa 2 launches on asteroid bombing mission

Sometimes it seems as if the history of spaceflight is a long exercise in oneupsmanship with each agency trying to top the others. Case in point is Japan's Hayabusa2 mission, which, following the landing of Philae on on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko last month, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) confirmed was successfully launched today at 1:22:04 pm JST from the Tanegashima Space Center on a mission to not only land on an asteroid, but to bomb it. Read More
— Space

Could a space-based solar farm become a reality by 2040?

Space-based solar power seems like an idea from a Star Trek script, but given the uncertain future of its power generation industry, Japan stands to gain as much as anyone by exploring this potential source of renewable energy. The disaster at Fukushima, limited access to fossil fuels and advances in technology has, at least in the eyes of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), added further weight to the notion of a space-based solar power system. The agency is developing a complex roadmap involving a 1 GW extraterrestrial solar farm, a microwave beam and a man-made island in the Tokyo harbor which could be used collect solar energy in space and supply power to Earth by 2040. Read More
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