Japan, US sign document on cooperation for lunar exploration

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In this illustration, NASA's Orion spacecraft (left) approaches the Gateway in lunar orbit. — courtesy NASA
In this illustration, NASA's Orion spacecraft (left) approaches the Gateway in lunar orbit. — courtesy NASA

TOKYO — Japan and the United States on Saturday signed a document for cooperation on lunar exploration led by NASA, with Japan aiming to send astronauts to the moon in the latter half of the 2020s, Kyodo reported.

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 declaration during a virtual meeting.

The document said the two sides would aim to provide Japanese crew with opportunities on the Gateway, a small spaceship that will orbit around the Moon, as well as on the lunar surface.

The Gateway will be equipped with living quarters for astronauts, a research lab and ports for visiting spacecraft

"We've taken a big first step toward having the first Japanese landing on the lunar surface," Hagiuda said at a press conference. — SPA


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