Japan Vows to Work Closely on Lunar Exploration With the US
Article from Kyodo News August 26, 2020 (english.kyodonews.net)
• In August 26th, US and Japanese officials met in Tokyo to further discuss Japan’s role in the NASA-led joint lunar exploration project culminating in a return to the Moon in 2024, actual exploration of the lunar surface beginning in 2028, and ultimately the international ‘Artemis’ lunar habitat project. This will be the first time that humans walk on the Moon since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.
• The meeting was attended by Scott Pace, executive secretary of the US National Space Council, Gen. John Raymond, chief of Space Force, and Japanese government officials from the Cabinet Office, Defense Ministry and other Japanese agencies.
• Pursuant to a lunar cooperation accord signed in July 2020, the US and NASA acknowledged opportunities for “Japanese crew activities” on the ‘Gateway’, a small spaceship that will orbit the Moon, as well as participate in activities on the lunar surface.
• US officials also acknowledged Japan’s new ‘Space Operation Squadron’, an Air Self-Defense Force space unit monitoring threats to Japanese satellites in outer space. Japanese officials acknowledged the significance of the US Space Command and Space Force.
• Tokyo and Washington also touched on “growing concern for threats to the continuous, safe and stable use of outer space,” a veiled reference to the growing space capabilities of countries such as China and Russia.
Japan and the United States on Wednesday pledged to work closely on a lunar exploration project led by
the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration after Tokyo joined it last month.
In a joint statement issued after a meeting in Tokyo, the two governments said they “reaffirmed their commitment to Artemis,” the multilateral project intended to return humans to the Moon by 2024 and establish sustainable lunar surface exploration with NASA’s commercial and international partners by 2028.
The two sides “also acknowledged opportunities for Japanese crew activities” on the Gateway, a small spaceship that will orbit the Moon, as well as on the lunar surface, as highlighted in a lunar cooperation accord they signed in July, the statement said.
The last humans to walk on the Moon were American astronauts from the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.
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'Artemis' lunar habitat project, 'Gateway' spacecraft, 'Space Operation Squadron', China, Gen. John Raymond, Japan, Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force, NASA, Russia, Scott Pace, space force, The Moon, US National Space Council, US Space Command