National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan
航空宇宙技術研究所 (Japanese)
Kōkū Uchū Gijutsu Kenkyūjo
Agency overview
Former nameNational Aeronautical Laboratory
FormedJuly 1955; 68 years ago (1955-07) (as National Aeronautical Laboratory)
1963; 61 years ago (1963) (as National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan)
DissolvedOctober 1, 2003; 20 years ago (2003-10-01) (merged into JAXA)
Official languageJapanese

The National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan (NAL), was established in July 1955. Originally known as the National Aeronautical Laboratory, it assumed its present name with the addition of the Aerospace Division in 1963.[1][2] Since its establishment, it has pursued research on aircraft, rockets, and other aeronautical transportation systems, as well as peripheral technology.[2][3] NAL was involved in the development of the autonomous ALFLEX aircraft[4][5] and the cancelled HOPE-X spaceplane.[6][7][8]

NAL has also endeavored to develop and enhance large-scale test facilities and make them available for use by related organizations, with the aim of improving test technology in these facilities.[3][9][10][11]

The NAL began using computers to process data since the 1960s. It began working to develop supercomputer and numerical simulation technologies in order to execute full-scale numeric simulations. The NAL, in collaboration with Fujitsu, developed the Numerical Wind Tunnel parallel supercomputer system, which went into operation in 1993. From 1993 to 1995, it was the most power supercomputer in the world, and was one of the top 3 in the world until 1997. It remained in use for 9 years after it began operations.[12][13][14][15]

On October 1, 2003, NAL, which had focused on research and development of next-generation aviation, merged with the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), and the National Space Development Agency (NASDA) of Japan into one Independent Administrative Institution: the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).[16][17]


  1. ^ "JAXA | NAL History". Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  2. ^ a b Tomifumi Godai (1994-04-30). 国産ロケット「H-II」宇宙への挑戦 [Domestic rocket H-II space challenge] (in Japanese). Tokuma Shoten. ISBN 4-19-860100-3.
  3. ^ a b Kamiya, Setsuko, "Japan a low-key player in space race Archived 3 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine", Japan Times, 30 June 2009, p. 3.
  4. ^ Astronautix article on ALFLEX
  5. ^ ALFLEX page on JAXA (global)
  6. ^ "HOPE_X 開発から将来宇宙輸送系に向けて" [HOPE_X Lessons Learned for Future Space Transportation Systems] (PDF). Technical Review (in Japanese). MHI. January 2002. Retrieved 2023-07-03.
  7. ^ "High Speed Flight Demonstration "HSFD"". Technical Review. JAXA. July 2003. Retrieved 2023-07-03.
  8. ^ Jos Heyman, "Spaceplanes That Never Were...," MilSat Magazine, Sept. 2016. Retrieved 2023-07-03.
  9. ^ 札幌試験場視察 [Visit to Sapporo Proving Ground] (PDF). Electronic Equipment Research Institute / Advanced Technology Promotion Center Headquarters Kobo [newsletter] (in Japanese). No. 503. General Affairs Division, General Affairs Department, Technology Research Headquarters, Ministry of Defense. 8 March 2010. p. 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 March 2016.
  10. ^ "Niijima". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 21 November 2019.
  11. ^ Nagata, Harunori (7 February 2004). "The Forefront of Space Science: Hybrid Rocket "CAMUI"". Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS). p. 2. Archived from the original on 1 October 2006.
  12. ^ "National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan's Numerical Wind Tunnel-Computer Museum". Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  13. ^ "Sublist Generator". Retrieved 3 July 2023.
  14. ^ TOP500 Annual Report 1994.
  15. ^ N. Hirose and M. Fukuda (1997). Numerical Wind Tunnel (NWT) and CFD Research at National Aerospace Laboratory. Proceedings of HPC-Asia '97. IEEE Computer Society. doi:10.1109/HPC.1997.592130.
  16. ^ "Law Concerning Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency" (PDF). JAXA. Retrieved 3 July 2023.
  17. ^ "Integration of three space agencies". Research and Development Bureau Ministry of Education. 2003-06-14. Archived from the original on January 27, 2013. Retrieved 2023-07-03.