Japan To Review U.S. Space Crew Vehicle

February 9, 2011 at 10:54 am | Posted in Space Law Current Events | Leave a comment

by Sara M. Langston with the blog faculty

Source: Aviation Week

by Frank Morring, Jr.

Experts from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will certify any commercial crew transportation vehicle put forward by U.S. companies as safe to fly. Only then will the Japanese agency accept them as substitutes for the space shuttle in the complex barter deals that govern International Space Station operations.

Under the old U.S. space policy established under then-President George W. Bush following the Columbia accident, Japan took an active role in working with the space station partners and other spacefaring nations to plan an architecture for lunar exploration. That work is very advanced, Higuchi says, but will need to be redone to accommodate the new U.S. approach.

“We have agreed to extend the ISS five years, so that means we have a lot of time to discuss [next steps],” he says. “Unfortunately, we don’t have much money, so we will have to investigate [what we can do] in more detail.”

JAXA is still working under its March 2005 Vision 2025 plan, through which it aims to achieve world-class status in aeronautics and space science, security, infrastructure and industry, with a heavy emphasis on lunar exploration. A top-level space-policy planning panel is at work to accommodate Japan’s tight space budgets and the changing plans in the U.S., traditionally Japan’s top space partner. [Full story]

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