Hello all, how’s your saturday night? 😀
Tonight I will give you a little report for my last Study on Japanese Companies and Industries visit! It was a visit to Tsukuba Space Center of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), yes, just imagine, a visit to Japan’s NASA! 😀 For me it was really amazing, although i don’t look like a big fan of those mighty-guy-stuffs actually i do love aviation and aerospace! Can you believe that my favorite National Geographic TV Show is Air Crash Investigation? 😀
At that day, we arrived at Tsukuba Space Center at about 2 PM, after going through 1,5 hours trip by bus. In front of Tsukuba Space Center there was a huge rocket model! So cool! 😀 JAXA Tsukuba Space Center is open to public twice a year, and we were one of the lucky one to visit it this year!
After that, we were given explanation about this space center, mainly about the environmental test technology center. At first we were given the understanding about how important spacecrafts such as satellites for our life. For daily usage, we always use GPS from satellite to help us navigate. For expertise, satellite can help them to record many data such as the temperature fluctuation in the earth to predicts the global warming pattern. We have to admit that nowadays, we will not have such an convenient life without spacecrafts.
We were given explanation about the importance of creating spacecrafts that can withstand the extreme condition so that each of the components will functions optimally. During the launching of satellite using rockets, it has to withstand the extreme condition of rocket machine vibration, acoustic pressure, and acceleration. During separation of the satellite with the rocket it will also create a great shock, so it has to be tested as well.
When it’s operating at the space, it has to withstand thermal vacuum (due to the situation of non-atmosphere it will have no convection in space so the satellite will experience such a huge temperature gap up to 300 Celcius). At the space there would also be radiowave and magnetic wave that can cause interference to the satellite.
There were a lot of tests to be performed to ensure that satellite can function properly. From the explanation, i think JAXA really has a leading facilities related to spacecrafts testing. It even has the largest space chamber to simulate the high vacuum, cryogenic and solar light environment in space with the size of 13m 😀 it was such a pity that we cannot see the facilities directly 😦
After that, we were given a tour of astronaut course. Actually i was expecting to see the real facilities but again it was only like a museum.
First we saw an astronaut suit. I did not remember exactly how many layers are there in astronaut suit, but it was so many, mainly composed of insulation layer and some life support. Inside the helmet there was a drinking bottle, and i also remembered that astronaut is using diapers when they are wearing those suit! I also remember that because the helmet is too big astronaut cannot read directly so they have a mirror in their arm part to help them reading. So interesting! I can never imagine to be an astronaut!
Second we saw facilities of biomedical studies, the scientist were mainly working to reduce the space-sickness that astronaut always experience in their first days in space. They use tilting and rotating bed and chair to simulate it.
Third, we saw isolation chamber, use to simulate the spacecraft condition. It was a huge room without window, inside is painted white and there are no windows at all. It is used to train and as well select astronaut because when they are in space they have to withstand this stressful condition everyday. In the end we saw some astronaut food! 😀
After the astronaut course tour, we were directed to the Space Dome, some kind of an exhibition hall. Here we learned that satellites are always covered with a golden colored material to help it withstand the harsh temperature changes. We also saw some model of Japan’s rockets and satellites from times to times, But the most fun part is taking picture of course!
I really wish i could have another opportunity maybe later on to visit JAXA again and discussed more about their other mission to send small animals to the space and examine their physiological condition, etc. like sending small fish to space, let it hatch, and bring back the baby fish to the earth.
I really want to know whether they have sent any bacteria or microorganism to the space 😀 Being a space microbiologist seems to be awesome! 😀
See you in the next post!