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JAXA plans for heavenly views from broadcast studio on the ISS


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Although ratings may not be “out of this world,” broadcast programming planned from the International Space Station’s new studio certainly will be.

Working with digital content developer Bascule Inc. and satellite broadcaster SKY Perfect JSAT Corp., the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced on Nov. 6 that it will set up the world’s first broadcast facility in the ISS to record and air shows from outer space.

The project is part of the JAXA Space Innovation through Partnership and Co-creation (J-SPARC) plan, under which the JAXA works with private companies and other parties to create space-related businesses.

According to JAXA and other sources, the Space Frontier Studio Kibo will open within Japan’s Kibo experiment module in the ISS in or beyond 2020 to start an interactive broadcasting service. That will allow for real-time communications between astronauts staying for long periods there and people on Earth.

Around 2021, augmented reality and virtual reality technologies will be adopted to distribute and air videos, while super high-definition movies of the view from outside the ISS will also be available by that time.

Live broadcasting of super high-resolution footage from Kibo is planned to be a reality in 2022 or later.

SKY Perfect JSAT officials said the details of programs to be aired are under consideration.

Koichi Wakata, director-general of the JAXA’s Human Spaceflight Technology Directorate, called the plan “a pioneering business driven by the private sector based on an unprecedented idea” in a statement.

“A decade has passed since the orbital assembly of Japan’s experiment module Kibo,” said Wakata. “Various scientific experiments in the gravity-free conditions and space observation and other missions outside the module have been conducted in Kibo, while technologies associated with manned space activity have accumulated as well.”

He said that based on developed know-how, JAXA is aggressively working to make Kibo available not only for research and development but also for various objectives by a wide range of parties.

“I expect it (the new project) to take the first step toward further expanded use of Kibo,” Wakata said.

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