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Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) | Space Agency


The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) ( Kokuritsu-kenkyū-kaihatsu-hōjin Uchū Kōkū Kenkyū Kaihatsu Kikō, literally "National Research and Development Agency on Aerospace Research and Development") is the Japanese national aerospace and space agency. 

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

MottoOne JAXA
Formation1 October 2003; 16 years ago
Successor agency to NASDA 1969–2003, ISAS 1981–2003 and NAL 1955–2003
HeadquartersChōfu, Tokyo, Japan
Hiroshi Yamakawa
Primary spaceport
Tanegashima Space Center
Parent organisation
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
¥182.7 billion (FY2017) ($1.71 billion)

Through the merger of three previously independent organizations, JAXA was formed on 1 October 2003. JAXA is responsible for research, technology development and launch of satellites into orbit, and is involved in many more advanced missions such as asteroid exploration and possible human exploration of the Moon. Its motto is One JAXA and its corporate slogan is Explore to Realize (formerly Reaching for the skies, exploring space).


On 1 October 2003, three organizations were merged to form the new JAXA: Japan's Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), the National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan (NAL), and National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA). JAXA was formed as an Independent Administrative Institution administered by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC).

Before the merger, ISAS was responsible for space and planetary research, while NAL was focused on aviation research. NASDA, which was founded on 1 October 1969, had developed rockets, satellites, and also built the Japanese Experiment Module. The old NASDA headquarters were located at the current site of the Tanegashima Space Center, on Tanegashima Island, 115 kilometers south of Kyūshū. NASDA also trained Japanese astronauts, who flew with the US Space Shuttles


JAXA is composed of the following organizations:
  • Space Technology Directorate I
  • Space Technology Directorate II
  • Human Spaceflight Technology Directorate
  • Research and Development Directorate
  • Aeronautical Technology Directorate
  • Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS)
  • Space Exploration Innovation Hub Center
  • Earth Observation Research Center (EORC), Tokyo
  • Earth Observation Center (EOC) in Hatoyama, Saitama
  • Noshiro Testing Center (NTC) in Noshiro, Akita – Established in 1962. It carries out development and testing of rocket engines.
  • Sanriku Balloon Center (SBC) – Balloons have been launched from this site since 1971.
  • Kakuda Space Center (KSPC) in Kakuda, Miyagi – Leads the development of rocket engines. Works mainly with development of liquid-fuel engines.
  • Sagamihara Campus (ISAS) – Development of experimental equipment for rockets and satellites. Also administrative buildings.
  • Tanegashima Space Center – currently the launch site for the H-IIA and H-IIB rockets.
  • Tsukuba Space Center (TKSC) in Tsukuba. This is the center of Japan's space network. It is involved in research and development of satellites and rockets, and tracking and controlling of satellites. It develops experimental equipment for the Japanese Experiment Module ("Kibo"). Training of astronauts also takes place here. For International Space Station operations, the Japanese Flight Control Team is located at the Space Station Integration & Promotion Center (SSIPC) in Tsukuba. SSIPC communicates regularly with ISS crewmembers via S-band audio.
  • Uchinoura Space Center – currently the launch site for the Epsilon rocket.

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