August 23, 2015

ISS Cargo Mission Boosts International Trust in Japanese Space Tech (Source: Japan News)
The unmanned resupply vehicle Kounotori 5 has been successfully launched on a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency H-2B rocket to deliver a cargo to the International Space Station crew. If the docking goes well, it will mark the fifth straight success since that of the first Kounotori cargo craft launched in 2009. Another success would further enhance international trust in Japan’s space technology.

Through the involvement in the ISS projects, Japan’s personnel skills and technology for space exploration have been steadily growing. This country’s ISS-related budget appropriations stand at ¥35 billion to ¥40 billion a year, ¥20 billion of which goes for manufacturing and operating Kounotori. More than 400 Japanese companies have been involved in the resupply vehicle’s development and production, and technologies nurtured in the process have been sold to U.S. firms and others, including those linked to space exploration projects. (8/23)

Virgin Galactic Passenger Numbers 'Almost Recovered’ (Source: Telegraph)
Virgin Galactic's “future astronaut” numbers have almost recovered after dropping in the wake of its fatal accident in the Mojave Desert last year, according to George Whitesides. Last year, the number of people signed up for a $250,000 (£160,000) seat aboard SpaceShipTwo, which offers a brief stint in sub-orbital space at an altitude of 62 miles, was estimated to be as many as 750.

Within weeks of the accident in October 2014, in which co-pilot Michael Alsbury lost his life during a test flight of the space craft, around 30 people had canceled their tickets. “We have only lost about 3pc now and we’re already making up those numbers,” Mr Whitesides told The Telegraph. “Our early customer group has been quite firm.” (8/22)

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