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Why is Sony's technology heading to space? - SOLISS -
Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc.

Sony's logo is shown on a black background.

In the dark, the countdown for the launch of a rocket begins.
White smoke rising with a flash in the distance can be seen. Many people are watching from a distance.
A ball of light slowly ascends into the sky.
The rocket goes up. The rocket is soaring into the pitch dark sky.
The rocket engine continues to emit gas, leaving behind white smoke.

On-screen text
September 25, 2019 01:05 JST
The H-II Transfer Vehicle known as "KOUNOTORI8" (HTV8),
the cargo transporter to the International Space Station (ISS),
was launched aboard H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 8

Background music plays.

An on-line text, ©JAXA/NASA is shown in the upper right corner of the screen.
"KOUNOTORI8" is floating in space with the earth in the background. Some mountain ranges on the earth can be seen.
Since "KOUNOTORI8" separated from the rocket booster parts, it is now shaped like a cylinder. Its outer side is covered with metallic materials.
An on-line text, ©JAXA is shown in the upper right corner of the screen.
In a room like a workshop, there are five workers. Each of the workers is wearing a hat, mask, and working clothes with JAXA's logo on the back. Three of them are putting some kind of device into a big white bag. Many clear cases are piled up along a wall of the room. On a workbench, some photographs for reference material and stationery are placed.

On-screen text
Aboard it was the
"Small Optical Link for International Space Station" (SOLISS),
jointly developed by JAXA and Sony CSL

A photo is displayed. The photo shows a metallic device that looks like a household video camera. The two arms extended from the base of the device are fixing the device. To the next of it, there is another device that looks like a remote-control and is fixed to the base. The base part to which those devices are fixed are covered by a white sheet.
On the bottom right corner of the photo, an on-screen text, "©JAXA/Sony CSL", "SOLISS system on board" is displayed.

On-screen text
"SOLISS" is a long-distance laser communication system that aims
to establish a broadband communication system for future inter-satellite communications
and communications with ground stations.

An on-line text, ©JAXA/NASA is shown in the upper right corner of the screen. The view of the earth from outer space is displayed. On the background of the image of "KOUNOTORI8" floating over the earth, the Opening title, "Sony's Innovations & Challenges" and "Stories" are displayed.

On the background of the image of the sky at dawn, showing a small building that looks like the Tanegashima Space Center in the distance, the subtitle is displayed.

On-screen text
Why is Sony's technology heading to space?

An on-line text, ©JAXA is shown in the upper right corner of the screen. An image of the earth's surface is shown. The earth looks bright in contrast with the dark outer space. Some areas covered with snow can be seen.
In a space like a laboratory partitioned by white walls and frosted glass walls, a man in a black shirt standing by a whiteboard is interviewed.

On-screen text
Taiji Ito
Project Leader
Sony CSL SOL Project

Ito speaks.

Ito
"There are regions of the planet, such as in Asia and Africa,
where people still lack access to the internet.
Western companies are attempting to solve this problem by providing internet networks using
satellites rather than ground infrastructures with optical fiber cables.
We thought we could offer something to that effect with our own technology:
Sony's optical disk technology seemed promising for tackling this particular social problem."

Vast farmlands covered with green and brown crops are spread out everywhere.
One edge of the farmland covered with green crops is railed with fences far into the distance.
A land with steep sides is next to a tranquil body of water. Mountain ranges can be seen at distance.
The International Space Station is orbiting the blue planet Earth. The International Space Station has four rectangular solar arrays on both sides of assembled modules shaped like a sewing machine.

Two photos are shown side by side.
One of the photos shows a hand holding an optical disk reading part used for CD players.
Another shows an old CD player. It is rectangular and shaped like a videocassette recorder. Its left side has a slot for disc insertion and the right side has a time display device and control buttons.

On-screen text
Sony released the world's first CD player (CDP-101) on October 1, 1982
The optical disk technology used in Sony CD players
and other household devices is now being used in optical data transmission
The same optical disk technology is currently used in the PlayStation®4

In a room where exact size replicas of space probes exploring space are displayed behind a glass partition, a man in a black polo shirt is interviewed while sitting down.

On-screen text
Kyohei Iwamoto
Sony CSL SOL Project
Senior Researcher
Space Exploration Innovation Hub Center
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

Iwamoto speaks.

Iwamoto
"The question is whether optical disk technology will be able to
connect Earth and the ISS at distances as far as 1,000 kilometers.
No one has done this before."

Four simple illustrations of SOLISS systems are aligned side by side on a photo of the earth' surface. SOLISS system on the very left receives a laser beam emitted from the earth, and communicates the laser beam to the other SOLISS systems. This communication is illustrated as red lines connecting adjacent SOLISS systems.

Iwamoto
"Normally, we need to control laser light of less than one millimeter to read data from optical disks.
Now we have to be able to control things over thousands of kilometers.
That must work in terms of accuracy.
And you have to consider the possibility that this technology won't work in space.
But if we can clear those hurdles, it could work.
So we wanted to create a prototype."

In the room where exact size replicas of space probes exploring space are displayed behind a glass partition, Iwamoto explains with hand gestures. At first, he makes a gesture of picking up something on his left palm with his right thumb and right index finger. Then, he points his right index finger to his left palm from above.
A close-up of a part of a device is shown. A logo sticker of JAXA and Sony CSL is on it.
A device shaped like a projector is displayed. Someone is removing the plastic cap attached to the device with its hands. Those hands are gloved with plastic gloves.
Someone's hands are covering some kind of object with a clear plastic case that looks thick and strong.
An on-line text, ©JAXA is shown in the upper right corner of the screen.
In a view of space from inside the International Space Station, a solar array can be seen.
An astronaut wearing a space suit is doing an extravehicular activity.

Iwamoto
"These days you can't just buy a CD player, so I went to an electronics junk shop in Akihabara.
I took it apart, but couldn't create what I wanted on my own.
So I went to Mr. Ota on the SOL Project team and begged him to help me make it work!
We figured out how to track a target from the laser pointer through the disk's pickup lens."

In the room where exact size replicas of space probes exploring space are displayed behind a glass partition, Iwamoto explains with hand gestures. He makes a square with his fingers.
Above the desk where parts and some wires are put, someone is holding a small, square, plastic plate. A small green light is hitting a small lens in the middle of the plastic plate. As the plastic plate is moved, you can see the green light follows along with the lens of the plastic plate.
Iwamoto clenches his right hand and moves it up and down.

Ito speaks.

Ito
"But we still needed to prove whether it would really work in space.
The JAXA Space Exploration Innovation Hub Center had a program that gave us the chance to accelerate our work
on long-distance laser communications technology."

Ito holds an oval sticker designed with logos of "JAXA" and "TansaX" up with his both hands.

A man in a suit and glasses standing by a wall designed with a big JAXA logo is interviewed.

On-screen text
Kazuyoshi Kawasaki
Deputy Director
Space Exploration Innovation Hub Center
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

Kawasaki speaks.

Kawasaki
"The initial proposal was to use optical disk pickup technology.
It was an innovative combination of old technology and cutting-edge technology.
I thought it was fascinating.
Up to now the things for use in outer space have been expensive and all custom-made.
I thought that utilizing this mass-produced Sony technology could be a game-changer for space exploration.
This time the experiment will be conducted using the Exposed Facility of the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) "Kibo" on the ISS.
I think this is the first step towards building a true space internet network.
Going forward, we hope this technology can be used on the moon, on Mars, and so on."

An on-line text, ©JAXA is shown in the upper right corner of the screen. In a view of space from inside the International Space Station, you can see "KOUNOTORI8" floating over the earth. A robotic arm is extending out towards "KOUNOTORI8" from the International Space Station.
An astronaut wearing a space suit is doing an extravehicular activity near a solar array. The solar array is folded.
The astronaut is touching the robotic arm extended from the International Space Station.

An on-line text, ©JAXA is shown in the upper right corner of the screen. A view of space from inside the International Space Station is shown. The International Space Station is orbiting the night area of the earth.
In another view, the International Space Station is orbiting the earth.
Ito speaks while holding a small globe.

Ito
"We still can't transmit data from space in real-time.
Once that becomes a part of big data, we think it can be used in ways to enrich people's lives."

An on-line text, ©JAXA is shown in the upper right corner of the screen. An image of the inside of the International Space Station is shown.
The inner walls have various devices. An astronaut is closing a round door gently.
A view of the earth from the International Space Station is shown. The International Space Station is orbiting the blue planet Earth slowly. A robotic arm is extended from the right of the screen.
Iwamoto speaks.

Iwamoto
"Think about various satellites and other devices flying through space, as a connected device.
Once people realize they can benefit from space in this way, it will change how we see the world.
Optical communications will be infrastructure for those new applications and services in space."

A view of the earth from the International Space Station is shown. The International Space Station is orbiting the blue planet Earth slowly. A robotic arm is extended from the top of the screen. It has a clock-like device on its end.

The liftoff of "KOUNOTORI8" is shown; it is soaring into the sky.
The SOL Project team is gathering to watch the liftoff.
Iwamoto speaks.

Iwamoto
"We've been through so many challenges to make it this far.
We wouldn't be here without the hard work of people on the SOL Project team.
Our efforts have just started.
The real challenge has just begun."

An on-line text, ©JAXA/NASA is shown in the upper right corner of the screen. A close-up of the main body of "KOUNOTORI8" is shown.
Its outer side is covered with gold-colored metallic materials.

On-screen text
September 29, 2019 JST
"KOUNOTORI8" arrives at the ISS
Demonstrations of the long-distance laser communications have just begun

Movie ends with Sony's logo.