credit JAXA / caption: JAXA’S HTV in orbit – click on the image to see a larger version

In his new January 2009 interview Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency president Keiji Tachikawa talks about his hopes for the Japanese International Space Station (ISS) resupply vehicle, the HII Transfer Vehicle (HTV). He hopes that it can one day become a vehicle able to return cargo and be the basis for a manned spacecraft, just like the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Automated Transfer VehicleMaybe JAXA and ESA, with its downmass, manned spacecraft hopes, should collaborate?

Of the HTV’s booster, the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries H-IIB, Tachikawa even says, “I hope that the H-IIB will lead to the development of a manned spaceplane that travels between Earth and space.”

Best of luck with that…

Japan’s big test this year is the maiden flight of the HTV and its H-IIB booster, already years late

While if you want a real test that makes Sudoku look like simple arithmetic (eh? isn’t it just that?) how about ESA’s trajectory optimisation competition organised by French space agency CNES. I guess with a blog called hyperbola I should be entering that. Uh oh