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NASA and Japan's JAXA Discuss Space Cooperation

USA- Washington, D.C. | Jul 12 2013 | (22:51:28 - EDT)

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and the president of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) met in Washington Wednesday, July 10, to discuss the importance of international cooperation in space, especially the continued support for the International Space Station.

Bolden and Naoki Okumura also discussed NASA's plans for a new asteroid initiative, previously announced in President Obama's fiscal year 2014 budget proposal. Okumura welcomed the opportunity to discuss JAXA's potential contribution based on experience through its Hayabusa asteroid sample return mission. This is Okumura's first bilateral meeting with NASA since being named JAXA's president in April.

“NASA has enjoyed a long-standing, mutually beneficial relationship with Japan in space exploration activities and we look forward to further discussions about our asteroid initiative,” said Bolden. We currently have more than 35 active agreements with JAXA in human spaceflight, Earth science, space science, and aeronautics, making Japan one of the agency’s leading partners in civil space cooperation.”

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NASA's asteroid initiative involves robotically capturing a small near-Earth asteroid and redirecting it safely to a stable lunar orbit where astronauts can visit and explore it.

Capturing and redirecting an asteroid integrates the best of NASA's science, technology, and human exploration capabilities and draws on the innovation of America's brightest scientists and engineers. The knowledge gained from the initiative will help us protect our planet, advance exploration capabilities and technologies for human spaceflight, and help us better utilize our space resources.

More on What's Next for NASA

The end of the space shuttle program does not mean the end of NASA, or even of NASA sending humans into space. NASA has a robust program of exploration, technology development and scientific research that will last for years to come.

"As a former astronaut and the current NASA Administrator, I'm here to tell you that American leadership in space will continue for at least the next half-century because we have laid the foundation for success - and failure is not an option." Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator
National Press Club, July 1, 2011

Here is what's next for NASA:

Exploration

NASA is designing and building the capabilities to send humans to explore the solar system, working toward a goal of landing humans on Mars. We will build the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, based on the design for the Orion capsule, with a capacity to take four astronauts on 21-day missions.

NASA is also moving forward with the development of the Space Launch System - an advanced heavy-lift launch vehicle that will provide an entirely new national capability for human exploration beyond Earth's orbit. The SLS rocket will use a liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propulsion system, which will include shuttle engines for the core stage and the J-2X engine for the upper stage.

We are developing the technologies we will need for human exploration of the solar system, including solar electric propulsion, refueling depots in orbit, radiation protection and high-reliability life support systems.

International Space Station

The International Space Station is the centerpiece of our human spaceflight activities in low Earth orbit. The ISS is fully staffed with a crew of six, and American astronauts will continue to live and work there in space 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Part of the U.S. portion of the station has been designated as a national laboratory, and NASA is committed to using this unique resource for scientific research.

The ISS is a test bed for exploration technologies such as autonomous refueling of spacecraft, advanced life support systems and human/robotic interfaces. Commercial companies are well on their way to providing cargo and crew flights to the ISS, allowing NASA to focus its attention on the next steps into our solar system.

Aeronautics

NASA is researching ways to design and build aircraft that are safer, more fuel-efficient, quieter, and environmentally responsible. We are also working to create traffic management systems that are safer, more efficient and more flexible. We are developing technologies that improve routing during flights and enable aircraft to climb to and descend from their cruising altitude without interruption.

We believe it is possible to build an aircraft that uses less fuel, gives off fewer emissions, and is quieter, and we are working on the technologies to create that aircraft. NASA is also part of the government team that is working to develop the Next Generation Air Transportation System, or NextGen, to be in place by the year 2025. We will continue to validate new, complex aircraft and air traffic control systems to ensure that they meet extremely high safety levels.

Science

NASA is conducting an unprecedented array of missions that will seek new knowledge and understanding of Earth, the solar system and the universe. NASA has observatories in Earth orbit and deep space, spacecraft visiting the moon and other planetary bodies, and robotic landers, rovers, and sample return missions. NASA's science vision encompasses questions as practical as hurricane formation, as enticing as the prospect of lunar resources, and as profound as the origin of the Universe.

Source: NASA

Image Credit: NASA / Bill Ingalls

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