Statement by Director General of ISAS on the Tohoku-Pacific Ocean Earthquake
I hereby express my deepest condolences for those who lost their lives and my sympathy for those who have suffered in any respect from the powerful earthquake on March 11, the associated tsunami, and the serious accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Specifically, I have been shocked by news of devastating damages by tsunami in Ofunato where ISAS had launched more than 400 balloons from 1971 to 2007.
All of the staffs and students in Sagamihara campus are safe and have no injuries. There are only small damages in buildings and facilities. Luckily, no damages have been found in the satellites and the spacecrafts under development here, and also in a valuable sample of asteroid Itokawa which HAYABUSA brought back to the Earth in last June.
However, various activities in ISAS have been affected by the rolling blackouts (ISAS belongs to a group 4D) and power saving required by a supplier having serious damages on their power plants. In this limited situation, we have so far managed to safely operate satellites and spacecrafts in space using a private power generation system. Most of the experiments and the ground tests related to projects have been paused at the moment. Now we are sorting out priorities of experiments to be done in this limited situation.
Most of the information processing system in Sagamihara campus is not available during blackouts with some overhead time required to recover it by hand. Our web pages also become unavailable at the same time. I sincerely ask for your patience related to this inconvenience.
Furthermore, we have closed the campus for public and canceled all of the group tours in March. We are preparing to open the campus for public as soon as possible.
Considering the scale of phenomenon we face, it would take a considerable amount of time to achieve complete restoration. Thank you very much for your understanding and cooperation.
Director General of Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS)
March 29, 2011