7 Nations Join U.S. in Signing the Artemis Accords

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — International cooperation on and around the Moon as part of the Artemis program is taking a step forward today with the signing of the Artemis Accords between NASA and several partner countries. The Artemis Accords establish a practical set of principles to guide space exploration cooperation among nations participating in the agency’s 21st century lunar exploration plans.

“Artemis will be the broadest and most diverse international human space exploration program in history, and the Artemis Accords are the vehicle that will establish this singular global coalition,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “With today’s signing, we are uniting with our partners to explore the Moon and are establishing vital principles that will create a safe, peaceful, and prosperous future in space for all of humanity to enjoy.”


An Overview of Japan’s Counterspace Strategy

Global Counterspace Capabilities:
An Open Source Assessment

Secure World Foundation
April 2020

Full Report

The following excerpts from the report summarize Japan’s counterspace capabilities.

Country Summary

Japan has long been a well-established space actor and its space activities have historically been entirely non-military in nature. In 2008, Japan made a change to its constitution to enable national security-related activities in space and more recently, government officials have begun to publicly speak about developing various counterspace capabilities or developing military SSA capacity.


Luxembourg, Japan Sign Space Cooperation Agreement

LUXEMBOURG, November 29, 2017 (Luxembourg PR) – The Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, represented by the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Economy, Étienne Schneider, and the Cabinet Office of Japan, represented by Masaji Matsuyama, Minister of State for Space Policy, signed today in Tokyo a memorandum of cooperation on exploration and commercial utilization of space resources.

Within its SpaceResources.lu initiative, Luxembourg offers commercial companies an attractive overall environment for space resource exploration and utilization related activities, including but not limited to a legal regime. The Grand Duchy is the first European country to offer a legal and regulatory framework addressing the capability of ownership of space resources and laying down the regulations for the authorization and the supervision of such missions in space.

The five-year cooperation agreement between Luxembourg and Japan covers the exchange of information and expertise on the exploration and commercial utilization of space resources and intends to further enhance cooperation in the field of space activities. The exchange of information may cover all the issues of the exploration and commercial utilization of space resources, including legal, regulatory, technological, economic, and other aspects.

Luxembourg’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy Etienne Schneider declared:

After the agreements signed with Portugal and the United Arab Emirates, this is another important step forward in enhancing international cooperation. Our common approach and goals will surely open new collaboration opportunities. The agreement is a solid recognition of our SpaceResources.lu initiative, especially as Japan and more precisely JAXA have a strong experience in space missions and have been initiators of the renowned Hayabusa missions to collect samples from an asteroid and return them to Earth.

New Japanese Space Law Bolsters Private Sector

Aoki Setsuko argues that Japan’s Space Activities Act will bolster the country’s commercial space sector.

On November 16, 2016, Japan’s Space Activities Act was promulgated, establishing a system for licensing the launching of rockets and the operation of satellites by private-sector companies. Almost 20 Western and other countries have already enacted this sort of legislation; Japan is a relative latecomer in this respect….

Now that Japan has adopted its Space Activities Act, start-ups are not left wondering what agency they should contact but can go in advance to discuss their plans with officials at a specially designated counter in the Cabinet Office.

The new Japanese law also provides government support in the provision of financial guarantees required by commercial space launch operators, such as by arranging third-party liability insurance coverage. The required coverage is calculated on the basis of the maximum probable loss estimated in line with the rocket type and the payload content; in the case of damages in excess of this coverage, the law provides that the government is to pay for the residual damages up to a certain limit. This is similar to arrangements that have been adopted in the United States and France, although the French government sets no limit on payments.

In addition, Japan’s Space Activities Act provides that the launch operator bears liability for accident damages even if they are due to problems in the payload. This channeling of liability would seem to be disadvantageous to launch operators, but it can be expected to enhance the competitive position of the Japanese companies providing this service, because it reassures customers around the world who are seeking to have their satellites put into orbit. France is the only other country that has adopted a similar provision.

Alongside technological development and financing, the design of the legal and regulatory system is a key determinant of success or failure in space business. The new Space Activities Act is sure to give a major boost to this business in Japan, which has both technological strength and great potential. Within the next few years we can expect to see start-ups launching small rockets carrying miniaturized satellites into orbit.

Read the full story.

Groups Praise New CSA-JAXA Cooperative Agreement

By Douglas Messier
Parabolic Arc Managing Editor

MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) and the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC) are hailing a new memorandum of understanding signed by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) that deeps space cooperation between the two nations.

“Several Canadian Space companies have strong scientific and business relations with Japan. This MOU will strengthen our ties with the Japanese space community in ways which will benefit both nations scientifically and economically,” said Jim Quick, President and CEO of AIAC, in a press release.


Brazil, Japan to Cooperate on Micro- and Nanosats

AEB PR — A Japanese delegation comprising representatives of the embassy, ​​academia and research was received yesterday (21/09), the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB), the director of the Satellite, Applications and Development (Dsad) Thyrso Villela, and the chief Advisor for International Cooperation (ACI), José Montserrat Filho. The main theme of the meeting was the possibility of joint development of micro / nanosatellites.

According to the Japanese delegation miniaturization of satellites is already a worldwide trend in two respects. The first is the low cost of manufacture. While the medium-large can cost anywhere from $ 200 to $ 500 million, small businesses are in the range of $ 2 to $ 5 million, which represents one-hundredth the price.


Space Access ’11: Misuzu Onuki

Misuzu Onuki
Space Activities in Japan

  • Japanese space budget and revenues are both decreasing…
  • Only thing that is increasing: Number of companies that have stopped their space activities
  • Space revenues are almost the size of the government space budget
  • New Japanese Basic Space Law went into effect in 2009
  • Japan has a great potential to become a user of commercial spaceflight in terms of passengers and experiments
  • A lot of activities in terms of promotions (winning space trips)
  • Large Japanese companies are beginning development work on commercial space vehicles for last two years
  • Human spaceflight concept is beingg developed — HTV-R – with re-entry capsule
  • Concept for human-rated H-II rocket
  • No domestic company working on orbital facility — Japan has MOU with Bigelow Aerospace — one of six MOUs
  • Kibo Utilization Forum — 13 research groups working on different aspects of how to use Japan’s ISS module
  • Trying to develop a space washing machine
  • Working on creating a domestic Commercial Human Spaceflight Promotion Association in order to work on human spaceflight standards, regulatory structure and other matters

Video: John Lewis on Asia’s Road to the Moon

Prof. John Lewis gave a dinner talk about Asia’s road to the moon during the Space Studies Institute’s Space Manufacturing Conference last month.

A full archive of videos is located here.

View the archive of PowerPoint presentations given during the conference here.

Japan Formalizes Military Role in Space Program, Weighs Change in Constitution


In an essay in the Asia-Pacific Journal, Maeda Sawako looks at the increasing militarization of Japan’s space efforts, an effort formalized by the “Basic Law on Space” last year:

After two decades of inconsistency between “the Principle of peaceful use of space” and the reality of militarized space activity, the new Japanese space law enacted in 2008 lifted the ban on the use of space technology for military purposes.


Japan Boosts Space Spending, Missile Warning System Top Priority

Space News has a detailed report about Japan’s new Basic Plan for Space Policy, which sharply raises the nation’s space spending and alters its basic direction:

Japan’s new fundamental space policy, released June 2, places national security front and center over the next five years, opening the door for development of a space-based missile warning system and other military satellites while providing funding for space science efforts.


Japan Moves Ahead With New Space Policy

Japanese astronauts in a microgravity flight.
Japanese astronauts in a microgravity flight.

The Yomiuri Shimbun has a short report on Japan’s efforts to develop a coherent national space policy, which was spurred on by the passing of the Basic Space Law last year:

A panel of experts reporting to the government’s space development policy team approved Monday a draft basic plan on space development, in which they call for a shift of focus from research to practical use.


Japanese Space Policy Process Called Opaque, Unaccountable

Space policy made in dark
Daily Yomiuri

It has been six months since the Basic Law on Space came into force. The law was lauded as a major improvement in Japan’s space development policy, but the decision-making process involved has become opaque.

The government should enhance accountability in setting priorities for the nation’s space technology development projects.