Japan and the United States signed a NASA-led lunar exploration cooperation document, with Japan aiming to send astronauts to the moon in the second half of the 1920s.
Koichi Hagiuda, minister of education, culture, sports, science and technology, and James Bridenstine, administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, signed the joint exploration statement during a virtual meeting on Friday.
The document stated that the two sides would aim to offer the Japanese crew opportunities on the Gateway, a small spacecraft that will orbit the moon, as well as on the lunar surface. The Gateway will be equipped with accommodation for astronauts, a research laboratory and ports for visiting spacecraft
“We have made a great first step towards the first Japanese landing on the lunar surface,”
The two sides will discuss details such as the number of Japanese astronauts and their activities on the lunar surface, ministry officials said.
The document describes planned cooperation for NASA’s Artemis program, including Japanese contributions to the Gateway and exploration of the lunar surface, NASA said in a statement.
Through the Artemis program, NASA plans to land the first woman and next man on the moon by 2024 and to establish sustainable exploration of the lunar surface with its commercial and international partners by 2028.
According to the document, Japan plans to supply equipment as power components for the Gateway Logistics and Habitat Outpost module by 2022.
Japan also plans to supply life support and environmental control components, as well as heat control pumps for the Gateway’s international home module, which will be delivered to NASA by the European Space Agency in 2025 for launch.