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Japan pursues ambition to become a space power thanks to the US

Aerospace is a key area of ​​cooperation between Japan and the US, in the context of China also aims to become a space power.

Japan’s Kibo test module aboard the International Space Station (ISS)

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The Tokyo government hopes to send the country’s first astronauts to the moon in the second half of the 2020s, as part of the US Space Agency’s Artemis program.NASA) to bring humans back to the natural satellite of the earth.

In recent times, Japan has stepped up its full-scale space program, mainly focusing on the development of rockets and spacecraft. However, up to this point, the Tokyo government has not yet launched a space program to send astronauts into space, and currently relies on the US and Russia for manned missions.

According to Kyodo News, the proposed space cooperation is the topic of discussion between the US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo on May 23. This is also Biden’s first trip to Asia since taking office as US president.

The space ambitions and huge investment resources from Japan are welcomed by the US, the space power is trying to maintain its position against the potential “rival” in this field, China.

Beijing plans to complete its first space station by the end of this year.

Last year, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) recruited astronauts for the first time in more than a decade. In addition, Japan is preparing to help the European Space Agency (ESA) build a manned module, the main part of the US-led space station in lunar orbit, Gateway. Expected Gateway will be used as a springboard for moon landing missions.

Japan also built the Kibo test module on the International Space Station (ISS). At the same time, resupply missions to the ISS are also launched by Japanese boosters.

The country’s aerospace industry was dissolved at the end of World War II. However, Japan’s space program is kept alive thanks to heavy industry corporations such as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Mitsubishi Electric.

MHI boosters launched from Tanegashima Space Center, an island off the coast of Kyushu, put the Michibiki satellites into orbit. This is a group of satellites that strengthen the US GPS global positioning system in Asia.

Japan is also making space for space startups, including space junkers Astroscale and Ispace, developers of lunar-friendly landers and probes.

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