NASA has signed an agreement with the Japanese government that brings the agencies closer to finalizing Japan’s roles in the Artemis program.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries still expects to conduct the maiden flight of Japan’s H3 rocket this year, notwithstanding the coronavirus pandemic.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has selected Astroscale to send a spacecraft into orbit to inspect a discarded Japanese rocket upper stage, a step that would pave the way for a debris-removal mission.
The Japanese space agency JAXA hopes to have an agreement in place outlining its contributions to NASA’s lunar exploration efforts in the next few months.
Mitsubishi Electric said Dec. 22 that it will build the Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstration-2 as prime contractor for JAXA. The satellite is scheduled to launch on a Japanese Epsilon rocket by the end of March 2022.
At the Space Tech Expo, space agency leaders said artificial intelligence will play key roles in many space programs of the future.
As Japan prepares to join NASA’s Artemis lunar program, the country’s largest rocket manufacturer says it could upgrade the H3 rocket debuting next year to deliver cargo to the moon as soon as 2025.
NASA and its Japanese counterpart confirmed this week their intent to cooperate on lunar exploration, including Japanese roles in the lunar Gateway and human lunar landings.
The launch of a Japanese cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station has been rescheduled for Sept. 24 after a launch pad fire scrubbed the original launch attempt earlier this month.
As NASA develops its plans to accelerate a human return to the surface of the moon, international partners are left wondering what roles, if any, they will have in that effort.
NASA’s plans to develop a crewed facility in lunar orbit to support exploration of the moon got boosts both in the White House’s budget request for the agency as well as from the partners in the International Space Station.