Japan's Space Program

Japan's space development program, which centers on the activities of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), has achieved impressive results in recent years. JAXA has conducted a series of 11 successful launches using the large-scale H-IIA launch vehicle from 2005 to 2010, and it has sent many satellites and other spacecraft aloft, including the Earth observation satellite Daichi (ALOS), the high-speed Internet communications satellite Kizuna (WINDS), the greenhouse-gas observation satellite Ibuki (GOSAT), the lunar explorer Kaguya (SELENE), and the Venus meteorological explorer Akatsuki (PLANET-C).

In 2009, the Japanese experimental module Kibo (JEM) was completed for use as a part of the International Space Station (ISS), which is being built and operated through cooperation among 15 countries: the United States, Canada, Japan, Russia, and 11 members of the European Space Agency (ESA). Kibo, Japan's first human-rated in-space facility, is now being used by astronauts aboard the ISS for experiments in a microgravity environment, such as developing new pharmaceuticals and materials.

September 2009 featured the launch of the first H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV), an unmanned cargo transfer spacecraft used for delivery of supplies to the ISS. Sent aloft using the H-IIB, a launch vehicle with a larger capacity than the H-IIA, the HTV docked with the space station as planned and successfully delivered its cargo of supplies.

Advanced facilities on the ground

Advanced facilities on the ground:Photo 1
Advanced facilities on the ground:Photo 2