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Report on the Kibo-ABC Workshop at the 29th Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF)

  • Experiment at Kibo
  • Kibo Utilization Office for Asia (KUOA)
The Kibo-ABC (Asian Beneficial Collaboration through "Kibo" Utilization) Workshop was held in Jakarta, Indonesia on September 18, 2023, chaired by Dr. SUNGGING Emanuel, Head of Research Center for Space, of Indonesia's National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), and Mr. TANIGAKI Fumiaki, Manager for ISS/Kibo utilization promotion in the Asia-Pacific region, Kibo Utilization Center of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). A total of 47 participants from 17 organizations in 10 countries/region attended, including online participants.

Kibo-ABC is an initiative established in 2012 by the Space Environment Utilization Working Group (SFWG), later reorganized into Space Frontier Working Group (SFWG), of the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Forum (APRSAF) aims to promote the use of Kibo in the Asia-Pacific region and to share the value of Kibo's application.

The Kibo-ABC workshop is held annually in conjunction with APRSAF, and this year's event was a hybrid of online and on-site in Jakarta.

Every month, members of participating countries and regions of Kibo-ABC hold web meetings, and in this workshop, members gathered to report on various Kibo-ABC programs such as Space Seed for Asian Future (SSAF), Asian Try Zero-G, and Kibo Robot Programming Challenge (Kibo-RPC).

Figure 1: Group photo of Kibo-ABC workshop attendees

Kibo Robot Programming Challenge (Kibo-RPC) Session

The Kibo Robot Programming Challenge (Kibo-RPC) is an educational program in which participants solve various problems by programming the free-flying robot Int-Ball (JAXA) and Astrobee (NASA) in the International Space Station (ISS) to support astronauts. There were reports on the results of the preliminary round and media coverage from nine countries/region that participated in the 4th Kibo-RPC. Continued from the last year, some participating countries/region further promoted human resource development through the creation of explanatory videos, online events, and study groups. They also shared country and regional initiatives, such as awarding incentives to top teams. In addition, in partnership with UNOOSA, the establishment of the “UNOOSA International Slot”as an international participation framework from this year’s competition was recognized. It enables participation from a wider range of regions than in previous competitions. At the same time, some participants expressed concerns about difficulties for students who had never done any programming before. Lastly, JAXA announced that the 5th Kibo-RPC is scheduled to be held in the next year.

Space Seeds for Asian Future (SSAF) Session

Space Seeds for Asian Future (SSAF) is a Kibo-ABC program designed to provide young researchers and youth in the Asia-Pacific region with opportunities to learn about space experiments and space environment utilization research. Each participating country then gave a report on Asian Herbs in Space ("AHiS"), one of SSAF programs. Six of the AHiS participating countries/region (Bangladesh, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand) reported on the preparation status of analysis and the results of ground-controlled experiments for Mission 1*¹, and the activities of the educational program for Mission 2*². Bangladesh and Thailand reported an award ceremony that was conducted for the seed that returned from space for students. as well as a comparison with ground-based control experiments.
*1 In Mission 1, sweet basil seeds from Japan and holy basil seeds from Malaysia will be launched, cultivated in orbit for about one month, frozen, and collected. On the ground, participating students will grow sweet basil seeds provided by JAXA, compare and discuss the results with those grown in orbit, and refer to the analysis results of the above researchers to understand the significance and results of the space experiment.
*2 In Mission 2, herb seeds collected from various countries and regions will be returned to their respective locations after spaceflight, where they will be used by participating institutions for educational and research activities.

Asian Try Zero-G Session

Asian Try Zero-G is a program to promote the use of the space environment in the Asia-Pacific region by inviting youth to submit ideas for simple in-orbit experiments, and selected experiments will be conducted by a Japanese astronaut. In this workshop, the space experiments of Asian Try Zero-G 2022 and the Wrap-Up session on the results by the experiment proposers were reported.

The participants also reported on the preparation status of Asian Try Zero-G 2023, which is being implemented this fiscal year from eight countries/region: Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand. They also reported on the selection of experiment themes and their coverage in the media. Methods for promoting Asian Try Zero-G in each country/region were also presented and discussed to increase the number of applicants in the future.

Figure 2: Kibo-ABC workshop (Image by JAXA and BRIN)

Figure 3: Kibo-ABC workshop chair Mr. TANIGAKI Fumiaki of JAXA and Dr. SUNGGING Emanuel of Indonesia's National Research and Innovation Agency (Image by JAXA and BRIN)
Throughout the workshop, a lively discussion was held on the challenges that each country/ region faces in advancing the programs currently underway. In addition, following the Japanese government's announcement of its participation in the extension of ISS operations, the possibility of a new Kibo-ABC program was discussed to further increase interest in space utilization in various countries/ region. It was agreed that these discussions would continue in the participating countries/ region, and thus the workshop was ended.

The results of the Kibo-ABC workshop were reported at the plenary session of APRSAF-29 as follows.

Kibo-ABC Workshop Information

Date September 18, 2023 10:00~16:40
(West Indonesian Time, UTC+7)
Agenda Kibo-ABC Workshop AgendaPDF
Number of participating countries/region 10 countries/region, 17 organizations
Number of participants 47 (including online participants)

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