2023.07.14 Fri

Dr. Oki Riko, Director of JAXA/EORC received NASA Administrators Agency Honor Awards, the first Japanese person for this award

Dr. Riko Oki, Director of Earth Observation Research Center, Space Technology Directorate I, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) received the Exceptional Public Service Medal as the NASA Administrators Agency Honor Awards 2022. The awards ceremony was held at the U.S. Embassy in Japan on July 11, 2023.

The Exceptional Public Service Medal is awarded to individuals who have achieved outstanding performance for NASA missions. Dr.Oki has led the cooperation on precipitation observations for Japan-U.S. collaborative satellites over the years, including serving as a research scientist for the Japan-U.S. joint mission “Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM),” initiating the follow-on joint mission “Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM)” In addition, she served as JAXA TRMM/GPM Program Scientist for the research on precipitation observations.

JAXA’s precipitation radars onboard the TRMM and the GPM Core Observatory are capable of observing the three-dimensional structure of precipitation with high accuracy, leading to the development of the Global Satellite Mapping of Precipitation (GSMaP), which provides global precipitation estimate in near real time. The GSMaP is widely used in countries of Asia Pacific region and around the world. Furthermore, it is expected that further Japan-U.S. cooperation in the field of Earth observation will continue and develop in the future. In this regards, JAXA is planning a new satellite, the Precipitation Measuring Mission (PMM), expecting to participate in the Atmosphere Observing System (AOS), a next generation mission of NASA. To advance its plan, JAXA launched the PMM Project Team.

The awards ceremony for NASA staff and awardee in the U.S. was held at NASA in the U.S. on April 26, 2023. However, the award ceremony for Dr. Oki was specially held at the U.S. Embassy in Japan on the occasion of the visit of the Earth Science Division executives to Japan. At the award ceremony, Dr. Karen St. Germain, Director of Earth Science Division (NASA) handed Dr. Oki a certificate and a medal in the presence of Mr. Raymond F. Greene, Deputy Chief of Mission.

Dr. Oki is the first Japanese to win this honorable award. At the award ceremony, she named the researchers and engineers of both in Japan and the U.S. with whom she has cooperated, and said, “I would like to share this award with my colleagues. I hope young researchers will archive more in the future.” Mr. Greene, Deputy Chief of Mission commented “She is the first Japanese person to win the award, but we’re confident she won’t be the last.”