ANA HOLDINGS and JAXA Partner to Create a New Space Industry Centered Around Real-World Avatars


•"AVATAR X" program launches to boost humanity's access to the Moon, Mars and beyond.

TOKYO, Sept. 6, 2018 - ANA HOLDINGS INC. (hereinafter ANA HD) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) are proud to announce the launch of "AVATAR X," a multi-phased program to revolutionize space exploration and development using real-world Avatars(*1).

AVATAR X aims to capitalize on the growing space-based economy by accelerating development of real-world Avatars that will enable humans to remotely build camps on the Moon, support long-term space missions and further explore space from afar.

AVATAR X is part of "ANA's AVATAR Vision(*2)," a breakthrough endeavor to advance and pioneer real-world Avatar technologies, and JAXA’s new research and development program "J-SPARC" (JAXA Space Innovation through Partnership and Co-creation). Together with a growing list of public and private partners, AVATAR X hopes to catalyze new space-based businesses that will provide key services and an unprecedented level of access to space.

Some of the new business fields that AVATAR X aims to unlock, using real-world Avatars, include:

  • •Remote construction in space, including the lunar surface and Mars
  • •Operation and maintenance of space stations and facilities from Earth
  • •Space-based entertainment and travel for the general public

The first phase of AVATAR X starts in 2018 with the establishment of the AVATAR X consortium. The consortium will be the official forum to discuss and construct a roadmap for the AVATAR X program. The consortium is open to companies and organizations from all sectors that are interested in jointly pioneering this new space initiative.

The second phase consists of building the "AVATAR X LAB@OITA" in Japan's southern prefecture of Oita. This facility will be the world's first dedicated Avatar space test field. Key telecommunication and research infrastructure will be installed at the facility to enable testing for Avatars in space scenarios defined by the AVATAR X consortium. Unique structures, designed by award-winning architecture firm CLOUDS Architecture Office(*3) (CLOUDS AO), will also be built at the AVATAR X LAB@OITA to house research facilities, conference and exhibition rooms as well as restaurants and other amenities for researchers and visitors.

Planned for the early 2020’s, the third phase of AVATAR X will transport technologies developed at the AVATAR X LAB@OITA to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) for testing in space. Once the capabilities of these new technologies are confirmed in the space environment, the fourth phase will begin. Phase four involves deploying AVATAR X technology to begin building and further exploring the Moon, Mars and beyond.

"ANA is driven by a bold and inspiring vision of the future of flight and this boldness doesn't stop on our planet," said Shinya Katanozaka, President and CEO of ANA HD. "Through innovative partnerships, like AVATAR X, we are excited about the possibilities of what we can accomplish and where we can go when the private and public sectors join forces."

  • (*1) A real-world Avatar is essentially a robot controlled by a human that will enable a person to see, hear, feel and interact freely in a remote environment in real-time. Each Avatar consists of an operator apparatus (pilot) and remote apparatus (Avatar) that are in complete synchronization. The intentions of the operator are transmitted to the remote Avatar and the resulting sensations of sight, sound and touch detected by the remote Avatar are fed back to the operator.
  • (*2) ANA AVATAR Vision website: https://ana-avatar.com/english.html
    ANA AVATAR Vision press release: https://www.ana.co.jp/group/en/pr/201803/20180313.html
  • (*3) CLOUDS AO was awarded first place in NASA's Centennial Challenge Mars Habitat Competition

Current AVATAR X Members

Contact: ANA Corporate Communications, TEL +81-3-6735-1111, publicrelations@ana.co.jp

About ANA
Following the "Inspiration of Japan" high quality of service, ANA has been awarded the respected 5-Star rating every year since 2013 from SKYTRAX. ANA is the only Japanese airline to win this prestigious designation six years in a row. Additionally, ANA has been recognized by Air Transport World as “Airline of the Year" three times in the past 10 years - 2007, 2013 and 2018, becoming one of the few airlines winning this prestigious award for multiple times.
ANA was founded in 1952 with two helicopters and has become the largest airline in Japan, as well as one of the most significant airlines in Asia, operating 85 international routes and 121 domestic routes. ANA offers a unique dual hub model which enables passengers to travel to Tokyo and connect through the two airports in the metropolitan Tokyo, NARITA and HANEDA, to various destinations throughout Japan, and also offers same day connections between various North American, Asian and Chinese cities.
ANA has been a member of Star Alliance since 1999 and has joint venture partnerships with United Airlines, Lufthansa German Airlines, Swiss International Airlines and Austrian Airlines.
Besides the full service and award winner carrier ANA, the ANA Group has two LCCs as consolidated subsidiaries, Vanilla Air Inc. and Peach Aviation Limited. The ANA Group carried 53.8 million passengers in FY2017, has approximately 39,000 employees and a fleet of 260 aircraft. ANA is a proud launch customer and the biggest operator of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
For more information, please refer to the following link.
https://www.ana.co.jp/group/en/

About JAXA
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) was established on October 1, 2003, merging three institutions, namely the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), the National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan (NAL) and the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA).
JAXA is designated as a core implementing organization that technically supports aerospace development and utilization for the Japanese Government. JAXA performs activities related to aerospace fields ranging from basic research and development to utilization.
JAXA became a National Research and Development Agency in April 2015, taking a new step forward to achieve optimal R&D achievements for Japan, fulfilling government's mission to establish national R&D agency.
http://global.jaxa.jp/

AVATAR X LAB@OITA Site Plan Overview

AVATAR X LAB@OITA Symbolic Structure Design

AVATAR X LAB@OITA Visitor Center Design

AVATAR X LAB@OITA R&D Center Design