Every year MHI Group regularly invites elementary school students to visit its launch vehicle manufacturing plant in Aichi Prefecture as well as the Company's launch site in Tanegashima, an island south of Kyushu. This program is conducted as a CSR (corporate social responsibility) activity of a kind possible only by MHI Group, which is involved in the development, manufacture and launching of satellite launch vehicles. The invited students attend special science classes taught by our engineers, with emphasis on hands-on experience rather than simply listening to lectures.
From September 10 to 12, MHI Group invited 23 fifth and sixth graders who had applied from all over Japan to attend "MHI Tanegashima Aerospace Classroom 2019." This year's classroom marked the fifth event of its kind. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the participants ultimately were unable to witness the launch of the H-IIB Launch Vehicle No.8 originally scheduled to take place during their three days in Tanegashima. Nonetheless, the classroom provided an opportunity both to learn a great deal and to make valuable memories, particularly from the hands-on learning conducted both inside the classroom and outdoors.
In this year's science classes, the instructors from MHI offered the young students easily understandable explanations of the mechanisms that enable a huge rocket to be sent up into outer space successfully. They also guided the participants through related experiments involving liquid nitrogen, oxygen/hydrogen gas, electromagnetic waves, gyro technology, etc. At the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's (JAXA) Tanegashima Space Center, the children were able to see the actual H-IIB Launch Vehicle No.8 from the observation deck. Also, referring to actual launch vehicles, artificial satellites and displays at the on-site Science and Technology Museum, engineers explained to the visitors how outstanding Japan's space technology is and how much effort went into the aerospace achievements made by earlier scientists.
The children also participated in a competition to make and launch "rockets" concocted from plastic bottles. While keeping in mind the mechanisms they had been taught concerning how a rocket flies, they made repeated design adjustments to enable their rockets to fly ever-longer distances. The contest pitted teams against each other, making for an exciting and enjoyable experience.
The three-day program ended with the engineers explaining to the children that rocket launches are successful wholly thanks to the collective wisdom and efforts of many stakeholders. They also conveyed the importance of never giving up-turning every failure into a positive learning experience-and of never abandoning your dream. We hope the experience gained by the participating children will instill them to think about their future.
Going forward, through a variety of opportunities including "MHI Tanegashima Aerospace Classroom," MHI Group will continue to actively support the development of the children of the next generation.