Report from Space Environment Utilization Working Group (SEUWG) at the 23rd APRSAF, in the Philippines
The 23rd session of the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF-23) was successfully convened at Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Manila, the Philippines from November 14 to 18, 2016. The Space Environment Utilization Working Group (SEUWG) and Kibo-ABC workshop, co-chaired by Dr. Rogel Mari Sese from DOST and Mr. Fumiaki Tanigaki from JAXA, were held.
At the plenary session, the JAXA ISS program manager, JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata, extended congratulations to the Philippines on successful project DIWATA-1 as an example of international cooperation and a great result for using Kibo, and on the remarkable growth of space development by the host country. APRSAF-23 was able to be successfully completed with strong support of the Philippines.
The SEUWG took place with 74 participants from 14 countries and 36 organizations.
Inspired by the successful launch of the Philippine's first satellite DIWATA-1 from Kibo, active discussion about utilization of the space environment in Kibo was promoted in the working group. Discussions were also held to promote further effective utilization of J-SSOD which has attracted attention since the last APRSAF. In particular, the exchange of ideas by STWG members at the joint session stimulated innovative ideas about the J-SSOD mission from participants.
As a new activity for SEUWG, we collaborated with the Space Technology Working Group (STWG) for a joint session. It is focused on space exposed experiments and launch opportunities for the small satellite mission. At these sessions, topics were actively discussed by participants and progress from the last APRSAF-22 was confirmed.
As the first attempt of this working group, a special talk session was held by inviting Prof. Akira Kudo, who was the Principal Investigator (PI) of the Medaka fish space experiment in Kibo. In this session, he discussed the experiment with the investigation's integrator from JAXA and the Kibo operations engineer, not only regarding outstanding outcomes from the space experiment but also various episodes of close collaboration between onboard astronauts and ground experiment controllers. This special session has provided very useful information to help researchers realize their microgravity experiments in Kibo near the future. Based on these vigorous discussions, the need to accelerate the utilization of Kibo was recognized.
At this special opportunity for more Asian researchers and engineers who are interested in Kibo experiments, next the Space Environment and Kibo Utilization Workshop (SEKUW) was confirmed to be held in Thailand, hosted by GSTDA and NSTDA.
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