Japan’s space and astronautical science research started with Professor Itokawa’s pencil rocket. This area has seen great progress due to the close collaboration between researchers in the space science and space engineering fields, and joint research activities among Japanese universities.
The Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), one of the four principal bodies of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), has continued to bear the huge responsibility of developing space science via the flying objects of both Japan and the rest of the world.
The aims of ISAS are as follows. Our first aim is to, in cooperation with Japanese universities and research institutes, and space research institutions abroad, propose, develop, test-fly and operate specialty space science missions (science satellites, observation rockets and large balloons). Another important aim of ISAS is to use space science missions to drive academic research.
To date, based on collaboration between researchers in space science and space engineering, ISAS has been successful in making ambitious satellite project proposals, such as “Hayabusa”, into reality.
ISAS has consequently developed into a leading and well-respected research institute on the global space stage. As a platform of active research activities and based on unique collaboration between scientists and engineers, we intend to continue to forge ahead with the generation and execution of significant science satellite projects in the future.
Space satellite and exploration projects will become increasingly bigger and complicated in the future. In order to bring success to these, ISAS will need to support the development of observational equipment led by various universities and external research institutions.
It is also important that we work as one with all of these institutions to make science satellite projects into reality.
We will need to build data centers and science centers outside of ISAS and, along with broadening our base of space and astronautical science, work to further raise space science capabilities throughout Japan.
It goes without saying that ISAS is an indispensable member of JAXA. I sincerely hope that the fruit of ISAS research will lead to the further growth of JAXA and overall space development conducted by Japan.
ISAS is the only organization that can provide academic research in order to contribute to solving the broad range of issues that JAXA and Japanese space development face. We will also be responding to expectations from both within and outside of JAXA for us to act as a think tank in the years to come.
In today’s world, a space satellite project is a mammoth national undertaking that involves politics, economics and international relations. The approach to space science as described in Japan’s Basic Plan on Space Policy reflects this situation. We take our mission very seriously and will be working diligently to contribute to overall space development, including space utilization, by Japan.
Mankind opened the door to space in the twentieth century. The new world, gradually showing us its many faces from behind the door, is undoubtedly beyond anything we have ever imagined. There is, for example, the existence of dark energy and dark matter, the continuous discovery of planets outside of our solar system, and the diverse aspects of planets, satellites and asteroids within our own solar system.
The 21st century will undoubtedly become the century when mankind finally captures a comprehensive picture of the origins of space and life itself. I sincerely hope that the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science will be able to extensively contribute to this grand pursuit of knowledge.
Vice president, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
Director General, Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS)
BS Astronomy, 1978, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
MS Astronomy, 1980, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
PhD Astronomy, 1983, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
1983-1986 JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow, ISAS
1986-1988 Assistant Professor, Tokyo Astronomical Observatory, U. Tokyo
1988-1992 Assistant Professor, Institute of Astronomy, University of Tokyo
1992-1995 Associate Professor, Institute of Astronomy, University of Tokyo
1995-2013 Professor, National Astronomical Observatory (NAOJ)
2005-2013 Director, Advanced Technology Centre, NAOJ
2013- Executive Director, JAXA (Vice President since 2014) Director General, ISAS
Inoue Medal for Sciences, 1995, Inoue Science Foundation
Director recognition award (to the Hinode team), 2007, NAOJ
Axford lecture, 2008, Asia Oceania Geophysical Union (AOGS)
The Hayashi Chushiro Prize, 2009, Astronomical Society of Japan
Honorary Fellow, 2010, University College London, UK
Honorary Fellow, 2011, Royal Astronomical Society, UK
1980-1981 Co-investigator, Hard X-ray Telescope (Hinotori satellite)
1985-1991 Deputy Principal Investigator (PI), Soft X-ray Telescope (Yohkoh)
1995-1998 PI, XUV Doppler Telescope (ISAS sounding rocket)
1998-2002 PI, Hard X-ray Spectrometer (ISAS balloon)
1998-2006 PI, Solar Optical Telescope (Hinode satellite) Co-project manager, SOLAR-B (Hinode) mission
2011-2012 Chair, ISAS steering committee for Space Science
2012 Japan PI, Chromospheric Lyman-Alpha SpectroPolarimeter (CLASP)
(NASA sounding rocket)
- "The Sun and Life on planets"
Science of the Cosmos, Science in the Cosmos, BBVA Foundation, Madrid, Spain, 2016 September 5
Video (in Spanish) [YouTube]
Interview (in Spanish)
- Hinode-10 Science Meeting, September 5, 2016
- "JAXA Space Science Program and International Collaboration"
JSPS Science in Japan Forum 2016, Washington, DC, 10 June 2016
- "Program and planning at ISAS/JAXA space science"
The 50th anniversary of the Space Research Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences HQ, 30 Sep. - 2 Oct. 2015
- "ISAS and International collaboration"
IAU Focus meeting 11, Hawaii, 6-7 August 2015
- "Program and planning at JAXA-Space Science"
National Research Council Space Science Week, Spring 2014 meeting of the standing committees of the Space Study Board, National Academy of Science Building, Washington, D.C., 3-5 March 2014
- "Space Science and Exploration Activities of ISAS/JAXA"
The UK-Japan 150 year anniversary Science, Technology and Innovation Symposium - Astronomy & Space Science, The Embassy of Japan in the UK, 6 December 2013
- "What could Hinode results tell us about cosmic magnetic fields?"
ISAS Astrophysics Colloquia, 26 February 2015