Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), Japan Space Exploration Agency (JAXA) is the national center of space science research in Japan. As an inter-university research institute, ISAS carries out development, launch, and post-launch and in-orbit operation of the most advanced space science missions (scientific satellites and probes, sounding rockets and balloons). These activities are carried out with both domestic and international partners, and are resulting new discoveries of the universe and of our planetary system including the Sun and the Earth.
These space science missions are proposed by researchers belonging to domestic universities, and research institutes. The Steering Committee for Space Science (SCSS) is involved in the announcement of opportunities for new science missions, conducts peer reviews, and recommends missions to be implemented to the Director General of ISAS. The Committee also plays an oversight role for the missions during their development and operational phases. Thus the SCSS has a diverse and vital role for space science in Japan.
SCSS committee members are basically elected by space science researchers registered in Japan. Hence, the Committee represents diverse voices of domestic researchers in space science, securing a bottom-up process to propose, review, and implement space science missions. Today, the environment surrounding space science has become severe, and the SCSS is facing new challenges. In its current term the SCSS plans to: improve the peer review system for mission evaluation based on the lessons learned from previous mission; develop new guidelines for proper allocation of resources to small, medium, and large mission projects in response to the budget situation; establish a space science roadmap for the coming 20 years; support JAXA science missions conducted outside ISAS; and to reach consensus for various policy issues related to space science in Japan.
The SCSS is a unique committee for reviewing and supporting the wide range of JAXA missions from a scientific point of view, and for making relevant recommendations. The SCSS leadership is expected and appreciated both inside and outside JAXA. It is my strong opinion that ISAS is an essential component of JAXA, playing a vital role in fulfilling the objectives of JAXA from the scientific point of view. The SCSS gives its full support to the continued role of ISAS in the JAXA organization.
ISAS/JAXA Steering Committee for Space Science (SCSS) chair