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Space Organizations Part 2: U.S. Military, Foreign and Private - Japan

asteroid jaxa laboratory orbit

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) was created on October 1, 2003, by merging the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA), and the National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan (NAL).

JAXA's major ongoing projects as of February 2004 include the Mars orbiter Nozomi, the asteroid sampler Hayabusa, and development of Kibo (a laboratory module for the ISS). Nozomi was launched in 1998 and was to go into orbit around Mars in December 2003. An equipment failure prevented this from happening. In December 2003 Nozomi flew by Mars and continued on in a solar orbit. Hayabusa was launched in May 2003 and should go into orbit around the asteroid Itokawa in 2005. The robotic explorer is designed to land on the asteroid, take a surface sample, and return to Earth. The asteroid is named after Dr. Hideo Itokawa, who is considered the founder of Japan's space program. The Kibo laboratory facility is scheduled for delivery to the ISS in 2006. JAXA also participates in a number of scientific satellite projects with international partners.

In January 2004 JAXA announced that it intends to expand its space program over the coming decades to include a variety of robotic lunar and interplanetary probes. Flights to the moon, Venus, and Mercury are in the planning stages.

Space Organizations Part 2: U.S. Military, Foreign and Private - Private Space Organizations [next] [back] Space Organizations Part 2: U.S. Military, Foreign and Private - China

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