Research & Development
JAXA promotes three research and development programs and a fundamental research program that underpins them.
STARSafety Technology for Aviation and Disaster Relief Program
The STAR program encourages research and development that enhance the safety of both aircraft and the society we live in.
Demands for aircraft with enhanced safety is increasing as the projected growth in air traffic also involve the risk of more accidents. Responding to frequent natural disasters and meeting the ever-diversifying needs in the field of crisis management as flexibly and quickly as possible, meanwhile, will require safer and more efficient use of both manned and unmanned aircraft.
The STAR program encourages R&D that makes aircraft operation safer and helps ensure the safety and security of society through the use of aircraft. Examples include detection, prediction, and prevention technologies to protect aircraft operations from the threats of special weather conditions (turbulence, snow and ice, lightning, and volcanic ash, etc.) and human error, which represent the major causes of aircraft incidents. Not only will the R&D thus make aircraft operation safer and more efficient, but technological transfers of the research outcomes will also benefit the international competitiveness of Japan's equipment manufacturers. Other focus areas include the R&D of integrated aircraft operation management systems for disaster relief and crisis management, which aims at improving the efficiency and safety of aerial capabilities in responding to natural disasters and managing crises (security and warning frameworks, for example) through the integrated and efficient use of aircraft, satellites, and other aerial assets. The effort also involves work on technologies for operation management and flight capability enhancement, which aim to make more effective use of helicopters and unmanned aircraft. All together, the program aims to help create a safer, more secure society on a far-reaching scope.
JAXA is developing a group of technologies, namely WEATHER-Eye technologies, for protecting aircraft from special weather conditions such as snow, ice, lightning, and volcanic ash under a research program named WEATHER-Eye (WEATHER-Endurance Aircraft Technology to Hold, Evade and Recover by Eye).
Equipment certification is a vital but challenging process for avionics manufacturers. JAXA has been accumulating a substantial amount of know-how in this area through a range of R&D on avionics-related technologies. This research is to turn our experiences into a shared resource for Japanese manufacturers to better engage in the certification process.
To enable safer and more efficient disaster relief aircraft operations, JAXA has been developing “Disaster Relief Aircraft Management System(D-NET)”, which facilitates real-time information sharing among aircraft involved in relief activities and emergency operation centers on the ground.
The Smart Flight Technology Research is to help boost the efficiency and safety of aircraft operation by integrated processing of various onboard and ground data, and by automation and optimization of situation monitoring/option generation tasks of pilots and controllers.
JAXA is studying a range of technologies for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Ongoing studies include the development of a UAS traffic management (UTM) system to operate multiple unmanned aircraft systems safely in the same air space beyond visual line of sight, and the automation technologies for fixed-wing or VTOL unmanned aircraft to enable wide area observation and long-range transport.
To suppress sudden aircraft shakings, we are developing gust alleviation technology that can automatically manipulate flight control surfaces when the aircraft autopilot system receives input on air-flow vector data estimated from the turbulence detection system developed in the SafeAvio project. Our ultimate goal is to reduce turbulence-induced aircraft accidents.
We are studying a new type of compound helicopter technology aimed at drastically improved maximum flying speed (about 1.8 times) while maintaining the excellent hovering performance of a conventional helicopter.
JAXA has been developing pilot assistance technology named "Situation Awareness and Visibility Enhancer for Rescue Helicopter (SAVERH)" in order to enhance operational safety and mission capabilities of rescue helicopters.