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.

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 publicThe 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.”

AVATAR X Website:

(*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.


(*3) CLOUDS AO was awarded first place in NASA’s Centennial Challenge Mars Habitat Competition