The 8th System Design Meeting (SDM) for MMX

The 8th System Design Meeting (SDM) was held early this year on January 23rd (Tuesday) and 24th (Wednesday) with MMX Project Members in Japan and overseas joining either in person at the JAXA Sagamihara Campus, or connecting to the meeting online. The SDM is held approximately twice a year, and is an opportunity for the team to gather and share the overall status of the mission, the next steps, and future plans. The last SDM was held in September last year. At this meeting, about 40 members participated in person, and about 50 joined us online.

Group photo in front of the ½ sized model of the MMX spacecraft, exhibited in the Communication Hall on the Sagamihara Campus.

On the first day of the SDM (Jan. 23), MMX Project Manager Kawakatsu gave a report on the current status of the MMX Project. A change in the mission schedule was recently approved by the Space Development Strategy Headquarters of the Japan Government to revise the launch date for MMX to FY 2026. Each of the Project teams therefore reported on the latest schedule for the 2026 launch, with the plans for future tests and current preparation status. After each talk, there was a lively discussion and Q&A from all members both in person and online. There was also interest from our online colleagues about whether the 3D full-dome movie being developed in Japan for MMX might be available to be shown overseas. According to the director, an English version is in the works and it is expected that the movie will be screened overseas!

Online attendees at the SDM 8 meeting.
Online group photo (2).

On the second day of the meeting, the current development status of the ground system (such as the antennas that will communicate with MMX during the journey to and from Mars), operational preparation status (are we ready to observe and collect samples?), and science activities were reported on and discussed.

At the end of the first day, we took a group photo of both our online and in person attendees! At the Communication Hall on the Sagamihara Campus that week, a ½-scale model of the MMX spacecraft was on display, and the perfect place for the photograph of the team. Everyone was very interested to examine the model and see if their instrument was correctly attached, and took many photographs from all angles. We then gathered in front of MMX for the group photograph.

Close up of the MMX 1/2-sized model.

The MMX model was developed by the NPO GigaStar, who collaborated with the MMX project in the production. The model was on display until January 28 and open to the public. In the future, we hope we will see the MMX model exhibited nationwide.