International Geophysical Year
the 3rd IGY (1957-58 ) selected rocket observation of the upper atmosphere
as its special project in a preparatory meeting in the spring in 1954,
US scientists kindly proposed that Japan could use American sounding rockets.
The Japanese delegation returned to Japan, however, without giving the
US scientists an immediate answer.
Mr. Susumu Okano of the Ministry of Education, the contact
person for IGY, suddenly recalled the small essay by Itokawa mentioned
earlier. Okano tried to bridge the gap between Itokawa and IGY-related
scientisits, and, at last, the AVSA group, which at first aimed at developing
high-speed space vehicles, was assigned the important task of supporting
Japanese scientists to join the 3rd IGY.
Thus the space development team in Japan begain operating
with close cooperation between space science and space technology from
the very beginning. Though Itokawa left Tokyo University halfway through
the attempt to develop the first Japanese satellite, his contributions
to the early stages of Japanese space development, as an originator and
a powerful leader, are monumental, along with his little giant Pencil.
Hideo Itokawa passed away on January 21, 1999, at the age of 86.