[updated: March 2017]

Even thoug various comcepts of large space structure have been proposed and the research has been proceeded so far, there is no space structure larger than 100m except the international space station (and millitary satellites). On the other hand, the earch observation and deep space exploration by nano-satellites have been getting attention. In fact, many venture companies have come into the market of space utilization and propose various missions. Space activity has been growing steadily in the business situation. As for space science, the lunar and planetary exploring mission by nano-satellites will be realized one after another after 2018.

[JAXA Solar Power Sail]

Where will the human space activity be headed in the (near) future? The business and/or space science mission using nano-satellites will become mainstream? Or the mainstream will be the deep space exploration using middle/large spacecraft or high performance obsevation/tele-communication mission using large satellites?

[Star Shade]

Our laboratory thinks that large or huge spacecraft/space structure will be necessary for the advance of human space activity. For example, the solar sail or soloar power sail [1] will deploy large membrane more than 100m and explore the solar system or maybe fly out of the plane of the ecliptic to explore the sun. The space telescope will be much larger and it will be possible to realize the observation to figure out the origine of the universe, the observation to reveal the inside structure of black hole, to find the "second earth" where living things can survive.[2] It will be possible to find living things by star shade, i.e. by placing a membrane more than a few ten meters between the space telescope and the outer planet in order to shut out the light from the fixed star so that the precise observation of the planet revolving around the star.[3]. As for the earth observation and satellite tele-communication, much higher and more precise mission will be realized by using huge antenna or rader.It will be possible to shed light by reflecting the solar ray using large reflector more than 100m. The space solar power generation system will be realized and it provides the power to the satellite on orbit.

[Large Aperture Mirror]
Furtheremore, it will be possible that the space solar power system more than 1km is constructed which it meets a part of the electric power consumed in the world. [4]

These are "not a possibility", "has to be impossible" at this time. However, we think university researchers are required to challenge such a theme sincerely and to realize it finally.

In fact, people can get the latest manufacturing technology such as 3D printers in daily life and can manufacture various things. Anyone can be a central player of IOT now. He/she can get the latest information easily and handle big data. Consequently, it is becoming that the researchers cannot find their own meaning of existence if they stand on the extension of line of conventional sicence/engineering.

In such situation, we think the university researchers are required more than ever to outface the technology or mission that is not supposed to be possible and nobody challenge. To do that, it is necessary to establish novel theory and technology as well as to improve the conventional theory and technology thoroughly. It is necessary to develop the fundamental theory, too. Thus the researchers have been required to contribute to society by realizing what "seems to be impossible, but people expect someone to do".

[Cutting-Edge Space Systems]

Thus we are promoting the activities on "revoluting" the theory and technology necessary for the realization of such novel, cutting-edge space structure systems. In particular, we will take the following action:

Japanese researchers in the field related to the space structure systems including structural engineering and materials engineering are making a roadmap of the space structure engineering together now. Our laboratory will conduct research on the development of elemental technology and future cutting-edge space structure system based on that roadmap.
We will establish a research group to revolute the technology for elements and total system with other researchers in Japan toward the realization of cutting-edge space structure system, and try to find the way to realize "what is recognized as impossible", and realize it.
We will establish a research group of cutting-edge space system in our college for students (and faculties) in which we can discuss on cutting-edge space structure system, hold the seminars on the theory and numerical analysis method required for the design and analysis of the structure system, fabricate the prototype, conduct the experiment, and design nano-satellites to demonstrate it in space. We will report such activities in this web site and blog and SNS.


[1] 森治, ソーラーセイルWG, ソーラー電力セイル探査機による外惑星領域探査の実証, 第16回宇宙科学シンポジウム, S5-002, 2016年1月7日.
[2] Gema Lavender, New Worlds mission: Hunting for alien life using a starshade,
https://www.spaceanswers.com/futuretech/new-worlds-mission-hunting-for-alien-life-using-a-starshade/, 23 December, 2014.
[3] JadeStar, An Alien View of Earth - How Alien Astronomers Would Know the Earth is Habitable - pt. 2 (Nitrogen),
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread1083634/pg1, 9 September, 2015.
[3] AW Way Gibbs, The Promise of Space-Based Solar Panels, http://discovermagazine.com/2015/july-aug/19-stellar-energy, 28 May, 2015.

College of Science and Technology, Nihon University
Department of Aerospace Engineering
Space Structure Systems Laboratory
College of Science and Technology, Nihon University
7-24-1 Narashinodai, Funabashi, Chiba 274-8501, Japan
e-mail: asel (at) forth.aero.cst.nihon-u.ac.jp