The Space Flyer Unit (SFU) is an unmanned free fling small platform for onboard experiments on space science and engineering, which is the first retrievable carrier inJapan. The major objective of the first SFU mission is to establish a reusable spacecraft system, and the second is to carry out various onboard experiments on space science and engineering. The SFU was launched in orbit byJapanese H-II-3 rocket on March 18, 1995, and retrieved by American Space Shuttle STS-72 on January 20, 1996. When the first SFU mission completed, SFU was broken up for storing until second flight integration. After two years discussion about the second flight mission, it was decided to handover to the National Science Museum of Japan for future scientific and engineering education. Many young graduate and university students in their subject of space engineering jointed to re-integration activities of this spacecraft.
Flight engineering to conduct a quantitative measurement of the piston effect in CO2 critical fluid was developed based on the interface limitation of the TEXUS sounding rocket. The function of the flight facility was designed to observe the detailed dynamics of the piston effects as: 1) the emission of the piston wave from the heater boundary, 2) the propagation in the bulk critical fluid, 3) the reflection at the opposite boundary against the heater, and 4) the thermal relaxation due to side walls. The precise density measurement system was developed using the multi-mantle type temperature regulating system and the IR Mach-Zehnder interferometer. The piston wave was generated in the pulses of 5-200 μs by heating the Nichrome thin film heater. The newly developed flight apparatus showed the comparable precision with the on-ground experimental facility.
Bioconvection is an example of a collective behavior of microorganisms. Gravitactic microorganisms propel themselves preferentially upwards to form a dense accumulation at the top of the water column. When the top-heavy density gradient grows sufficiently large, an overturning convection occurs, leading to a formation of characteristic patterns, whichinvolve highly concentrated aggregation of cells extended in two-dimensional structures. We found a quite interesting behavior of bioconvective pattern created in the suspension of the unicellular green algae, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. The phenomenon, called the pattern alteration response, was characterizedby a rapid decrease in the pattern size. It occurred, much like a phase transition found in the physical events, spontaneously all over the suspension which already showed steady pattern formation. Quantitative analysis of the reponse would stimulate further thought and research concerning gravity-related effects in biology.
In this paper, a new Japanese space organization born in October 2003, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), is briefly explained. In addition, a new scientific committee and its roles are described. Then, JAXA vision is introduced. The current status of flight projects in the fields of microgravity science and the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) is also described. Finally, the present activities of ground-based research for preparation of flight projects and some typical results of them are introduced.
The progress of the research activities on space material sciences, microgravity fluid physics and combustion, space life sciences and biotechnology research, fundamental Physics in China are briefly summarized in the present paper. The major space missions and experimental results obtained on board the Chinese recoverable/non-recoverable satellites and the Chinese manned spaceship named ‘‘Shen-Zhou’’ are presented summarily. The recent main activities of the ground-based studies in China are introduced in brief.
China started to develop space science in the early 1960s. from 1960s to 1990s we have developed some payloads for space science study onboard the spacecrafts which are not fixed in space science. In the 1990s the space science experiments including space astronomy have been done in the SZ spacecrafts. Up to now we have launched five spacecrafts for space science experiment. Recently China's Geospace Double Star Exploration Program (DSP) is a very successful space science mission. More and more proposals, or potential projects have been proposed in recent two years. We try to briefly outline these new proposals, although most of them are in fact only in their conception studies.