Micro‐Gravity Laboratory of Japan （MGLAB） has been established as a semi public corporation invested in by the Prefecture of Gifu, City of Toki and private corporations. The micro‐gravity experoment facility of MGLAB is composed of a 100 m free‐drop zone and 50 m braking zone and this facility produces micro‐gravity environment for 4.5 seconds inside a freely falling capsule. It usually takes 70 minutes for one‐drop experoment operation. About 600 times micro‐gravity experiments have been conducted by using MGLAB’s facility since 1995. This paper presents the outline of micro‐gravity experiment facilities and the recent situation such as condition of utilization, educational program for students, demand examination and other activities of MGLAB up to now.
Since 1990, Reduced‐gravity experiment flight has been carried out about 12,700 parabolic flights by Mitsubishi MU‐300 and Gulfstream‐Ⅱ airplane in Japan. And a total of 537 experimental subjects have been made by Reduced‐gravity flight in Japan. In addition, Diamond Air Service Inc. (DAS) which is conducted Reduced‐gravity flight has started new program named ``The simple weightless experiment'' campaigh since 2005. The purpose of this campaign is for the people other than scientist to be able to make easy experiment in weightlees environment and experience to take a space walk. This paper introduces the outline of airplane experiment for scientist and ``The simple weightless experiment'' campaign.
The first test flight of a new free‐fall capsule released from high altitude balloon was performed on May, 2006 based on a drag‐free technique. The fundamental data for analyzing the drag‐free control, the flight sequence, and the wireless communication between the capsule and control room were successfully obtained in the flight.
The Unmanned Space Experiment Recovery System （USERS） has been established as the Unmanned Space Experiment Infrastructure with long duration and better micro‐gravity environmrnt capability by the successful return of the first USERS Spacecraft return capsule called REV on May 30, 2003. In this paper, after brief introduction of the first USERS Project and the merit of the Unmanned Space Experiment System, the analysis and the clarification results of what have been established and what have to be prepared as addition of options, such as to have late and early access capabilities, to the first USERS flight to be a fully operational unmanned experiment infrastructure, will be described. The brief schematics of this improved and generalized USERS for wide range of the users demands will follow, and finally, the Utilization Guide of the USERS, which has been prepared for wide range of users, will be introduced.
Fabrication of large high temperature bulk superconductors has a great impact on various industrial applications. However, it has been difficult to grow a large grain bulk on ground due to the contamination from the substrate or the crucible. This problem can be solved in microgravity snvironment, in which the bulk can be supported by a seed crystal alone during the crystal growth. Such experiments were conducted in the USERS (Unmanned Space Experiment Recovery System） project. Unfortunately, we could not grow large bulk superconductors in space. However, through this project we learned several interesting features for processing of bulk superconductore on the ground. This achievement will allow us to find new industrial applications of bulk superconductors.
During the International Space Station Program which starts in 1984, Russia is the important partner for us. In this paper, details of the Service Module, which launched by Russia, the Soyuz Vehicle, the Progress Vehicle, the Soyuz Rocket and Baikonur Cosmodrome are introduced.
International cooperation has been of vital importance for the successful space exploration and use. Among the many types of international cooperation, this paper is to analyze the assistance and coordination aspects of space applications from the space faring nations with the emphasis on the earth observation and disaster monitoring. After recent developments being explained on the follow-up activities of UNISPACE III, GEOSS 10 Implementation Plan, CEOS, Disaster Charter, etc., Asian developments are to be explored in some depth with the special focus on the APRSAF and APSCO. Based on such study, a certain conclusion would be given with respect to the possibility of Japan’s contribution.
The thermocapillary flow in half-zone liquid bridges of low-Prandtl-number fluids, when the surface is partially confined by thin solid walls, is investigated numerically. The linear stabilities to three-dimensional disturbances and their physical destabilizing mechanisms are addressed for the axisymmetric steady flows, which are formed by changing the aspect ratio of the liquid bridge, the axial position of the free surface, and the ratio ξ of the free surface length to the full liquid height. A partial covering of the free surface adjacent to the cold disc significantly affects the axisymmetric steady toroidal vortices, especially the ellipticity of the streamlines. By decreasing ξ the effect of the elliptic mechanism on the energy production of the disturbance diminishes, leading to four distinct instability modes, including two oscillatory modes. Each of the instability modes essentially consists of the elliptic instability and / or the centrifugal instability. For a sufficiently small ξ , the instability appears to be purely centrifugal. The range of the ξ in which the oscillatory modes take place becomes narrower, the smaller the aspect ratio of the whole domain. If the free sueface is assigned on the cooling side, the instability is always the same as that for the unconfined half-zones.