Office of the Director General

The Institute for Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) has continued to take on challenges in new domains related to aircraft, rocketry, high-altitude atmospheric observations, astronomical satellites, and planetary exploration, while also revamping our organizations, members, and jurisdiction. Central issues for our future plans include “astronomy over multiple wavelengths” and “planetary exploration founded on materials.” We will perform observations at wavelength ranges that are absorbed by Earth’s atmosphere—gamma-rays and X-rays, ultraviolet and infrared light, and radio waves—and in collaboration with ground telescopes, we will attempt to elucidate the 13.7-billion-year history of the universe. We will also send probes directly to other objects in our solar system, using in situ observations and sample returns to investigate the substances that constitute them, thereby revealing the processes that have occurred over 4.6 billion years of our solar system’s evolution. To make this possible, we will also advance research and develop technologies to support future space-oriented science and engineering.

Space projects are enormous tasks and require painstaking detail. To ensure project success and maximize the scientific achievements, ISAS first and foremost acts as a shared-use system for universities. Through this bottom-up process, we can consolidate consensus, knowledge, skills, and human resources from universities throughout Japan. In this way, ISAS encourages free and vigorous discussions that integrate science and engineering, and builds consensus for mission planning. Then, with ISAS taking ultimate responsibility, it defines responsibility-sharing among participating organizations, and takes the lead in systems development and space operations that enable better performance.

International collaboration has dramatically deepened over the past decade. Previous ISAS accomplishments have garnered respect from throughout the world, garnering sufficient recognition to be invited for participation in joint international projects. As these missions become increasingly large and complex, and as they extend into ever-deeper regions of space, strategic provision of Japanese expertise will aid in the realization of Big Science projects that could not be accomplished through the efforts of any single country.

We also implement measures to return our results to society. We actively publish scientific data acquired through our space activities, and build systems and mechanisms that can be freely used. We furthermore strive to implement ground-based engineering technologies with high affinity for social activities.

While there is still much to do in terms organizational management and space activities, our staff is determined to work together to take on these tasks. We appreciate your understanding of ISAS activities and look forward to your continued guidance and encouragement.

April, 2018
Director General, Institute of Space and Astronautical Science