German, Japanese Space Programs Sign Strategic Cooperation Agreement

Japan Launches Astro-H Credit: JAXA

Japan Launches Astro-H
Credit: JAXA

The German and Japanese Space agencies have announced a strategic partnership agreement which seeks to leverage both nations’ technological expertise to strengthen commercial and scientific space efforts. Among the items specifically cited in the press release is research into reusable launchers.

DLR and JAXA strengthen cooperation

JAXA Press Release:

Today (25 February 2016), the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum fuer Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have signed an “Inter Agency Arrangement between DLR and JAXA for Strategic Partnership” at the German Embassy in Tokyo, Japan. With this arrangement, both partners intend to jointly undertake the new role of space agencies and significantly contribute to the advancement of the world’s space development.

The German Ambassador to Japan, Hans Carl von Werther, welcomed the arrangement: “Germany and Japan are highly technological nations that cooperate closely in research and science. The strategic partnership between DLR and JAXA agreed upon today will strengthen both countries.”

The arrangement was signed by Pascale Ehrenfreund, Chair of the DLR Executive Board, and Naoki Okumura, President of JAXA. “The scientific and technical cooperation between Germany and Japan is characterised by high levels of excellence and expertise in tackling common global challenges,” says Ehrenfreund, adding: “Japan is among DLR’s most important partner countries. With this new cooperation arrangement, we want to further strengthen our strategic partnership with JAXA by intensifying not only the current scientific and technical cooperation, but also the cultural exchange between our two research institutions.”

“Today, environment surrounding the space development has been changing significantly such as rise of private sectors and increasing space development and utilization of emerging countries. We aim to build up a new role of space agencies under this arrangement together with DLR, that has enjoyed working together as front-runner of space development. I am confident that we will be able to provide more prosperous and effective value to the society as strategic partner of space agencies in both Germany and Japan which have high technologies and excellent human resources, by compensating each other and producing synergy effect. ” says Okumura.

At present, various DLR institutes are collaborating with 18 scientific institutions and universities in Japan as part of of more than 30 aerospace projects. These are in the areas of, for example, Earth observation and planetary science, space robotics, aircraft design and atmospheric research. In addition, services in support of government and industry are provided.

The main goals of the Arrangement are:

  • the development and utilisation of aerospace technologies to provide solutions to global societal challenges

  • develop substantial joint work on research and development projects and missions

  • the development of synergies in German-Japanese cooperation, thereby strengthening the competitiveness of both countries

In this context, DLR and JAXA intend to collaborate in the area of Space Utilization and R&D,  use, for example, L- and X-band radar technologies for Earth observation, work together in disaster management, and conduct study into reusable launchers. Another important area is the exploration of the Solar System; at present, the DLR MASCOT lander is on board the JAXA Hayabusa 2 spacecraft, en route to asteroid Ryugu (previously 1999 JU3), where it will land after 2018 and explore its surface. Germany and Japan also utilise the International Space Station (ISS) intensively to answer questions in the fields of medicine, materials science and fundamental research.
Industrial cooperation between the two countries will also be intensified.

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