Australia and Japan agreement to grow space sector

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzō Abe acknowledged the signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) between the Australian Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) at the Australia-Japan Virtual Leaders Meeting. The MOC strengthens Australia’s long-standing space cooperation with Japan to grow the space industry and create new jobs.

The federal government is investing close to $700 million into Australian space sector as part of our goal to triple its size to $12 billion and create an extra 20,000 jobs by 2030.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the signing would enable exciting opportunities to increase space collaboration across the two nations and support economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This significant international partnership will open the door for local innovators and help in Australia’s mission of growing our connected, respected and globally competitive space industry,” Andrews said.

“This signing builds on already strong cooperation in space between Australia and Japan over more than 20 years, including the trials of the Japanese Automatic Landing Flight Experiment at Woomera in 1996, the launch of Australia’s FedSat in 2002 and the return of Hayabusa1 in 2010.

“Further leveraging connections with countries such as Japan will be vital to growing our space industry, which will be one of the key industries that drives Australia’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.”

The Australian Space Agency is working with JAXA on a range of activities, including the planned return of JAXA’s asteroid explorer Hayabusa2. This activity is being undertaken in collaboration with the Department of Defence, Defence Science and Technology Group (DST) and CSIRO.

Head of the Australian Space Agency Dr Megan Clark AC said the Agency and JAXA will identify new areas of cooperation in space technology, applications, education and outreach.

“JAXA’s experience in space missions and deep expertise, space communication, precise positioning, robotics and education make them an outstanding strategic partner for Australia,” Clark said. 

“We have already seen the benefits of international collaboration through opportunities like Kibo-ABC, enabling industry, researchers and students to be involved in innovative experiments in the unique microgravity environment of the International Space Station, including robot programming challenges and growing seeds in space.” 

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