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Oct. 25, 2019 Updated
International Space Agencies Meet to Boost Coordination toward Moon-to-Mars Exploration

On October 3-4, 2019, senior managers met in Tokyo for a meeting of the International Space Exploration Coordination Group (ISECG), where JAXA had participated in this board. ISECG, which JAXA has been taking the Chair since 2018, is a coordination forum of 19 space agencies that aims to promote international space exploration.

The agency leaders reviewed the each country’s efforts toward human and robotic space exploration toward Moon and Mars. ISECG leaders also affirmed that the collaborative approaches are the key for the sustainable exploration and released a summary of the meeting.


Summary of the ISECG Meeting in Tokyo

TOKYO – On October 3-4, 2019, senior managers representing 11 space agencies gathered at a meeting of the International Space Exploration Coordination Group (ISECG) with the purpose of promoting coordinated efforts toward human and robotic space exploration on and around the Moon and Mars.

Hosted by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA, as the current chair of ISECG, the participating space agencies reviewed the work of ISECG to foster increased space exploration.

In recognition of the growing global effort and momentum toward going forward to the Moon and Mars, the agency leaders affirmed the importance of collaborative approaches for space exploration. The organisations will be developing an updated reference lunar surface exploration scenario, recognising the shared goal of a sustainable operation on and around the Moon directly contributing to enabling human missions to Mars. The lunar surface scenario will be based on new and updated agency plans and their science goals and technology development strategies.

Sustainability is a key for promoting long-term human exploration. The leaders affirmed the roles of the U.S.-led lunar Gateway, which is critical to lunar surface missions, facilitation of scientific discovery, and future deep space exploration. The agencies also noted the shared interest and importance of potential In-Situ Resource Utilisation (ISRU), including the use of water ice on the lunar surface, which may create opportunities in the coming decades.

The leaders also reaffirmed the significant opportunities in the low-Earth orbit (LEO) including the crucial functions of the International Space Station for the preparation and demonstration of human activities toward the Moon and Mars. The agencies also noted the ongoing efforts in LEO to demonstrate advancing systems and technology readiness for upcoming exploration missions.

Under the growing global support and plans for space exploration, the leaders expressed their intent to engage stakeholders and to increase public support to realise sustainable exploration for future generations.

The leaders noted both the near- and long-term opportunities for increased collaboration. They also noted plans for space agency leadership to gather at the International Astronautical Congress in Washington, DC, later this month, to continue discussions on priorities and opportunities for cooperation. ISECG space agencies welcomed the Romanian Space Agency and Swiss Space Office as new member agencies, and also noted the Luxembourg Space Agency’s recent application for ISECG membership.

The meeting in Tokyo included representatives from the Italian Space Agency (ASI), French Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), Canadian Space Agency (CSA), European Space Agency (ESA), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Polish Space Agency (POLSA), Russian State Space Corporation (ROSCOSMOS), Swiss Space Office (SSO), and the U.K. Space Agency (UKSA).


Jun. 27, 2019 Updated
JAXA and CNES Sign Implementing Arrangement on Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) and Hayabusa2

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has agreed to cooperate with Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) on the study-phase activities in JAXA’s Martian Moons eXploration(MMX) mission and analysis of Hayabusa2-returned samples.
Hiroshi Yamakawa, President of JAXA and Jean-Yves LE GALL, President of CNES signed the two Implementing Arrangements for MMX and Hayabusa2 cooperation on June 26, 2019.

On the occasion of the visit by Mr. Emanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, to Japan, the exchange ceremony of the signed two Implementing Arrangements took place at the Prime Minister’s Office of Japan in the presence of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Emmanuel Macron.

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About the Implementing Arrangement concerning cooperative activities related to Martian Moon eXploration (MMX) mission studies

The MMX mission is planned to observe Mars’ two moons, Phobos and Deimos and to collect surface material from one of the moons to bring back to Earth. It aims to clarify the origin of the Martian moons and the process of evolution for Mars region and to improve technologies required for future exploration.
MMX is currently in the phase of preparation for developing a spacecraft and the launch is targeted in FY2024.

CNES will contribute to this mission by providing the near infrared spectrometer (MacrOmega) and the knowledge and expertise of the Flight Dynamics, as well as by conducting studies of rover which is to be equipped on MMX spacecraft jointly with German Aerospace Center (DLR).

For more information on MMX, visit:

About the Implementing Arrangement concerning cooperative activities related to analysis of Hayabusa2 return samples by MicrOmega at JAXA Extraterrestrial Sample Curation Center

Hayabusa2 is a successor of Hayabusa. By investigating the asteroid Ryugu(type-C asteroid)and collecting samples for return to Earth, it aims to clarify the origins and evolution of Earth as well as organic materials that formed the oceans and the life.
Hayabusa2 was launched on December 3, 2014 and arrived at Ryugu in June 2018. It is scheduled to return to Earth at the end of 2020.

Under this agreement, CNES will provide the infrared spectroscopy microscope (MicrOmega) to be equipped in JAXA Extraterrestrial Samples Curation Center. It will contribute to improve the analysis of asteroid samples. In addition, this agreement stipulates the data policy which defines how to share and manage data from the MicrOmega.

For more information on Hayabusa2, visit:

Jun. 20, 2019 Updated
JAXA and DLR Make and Sign Implementing Arrangement on Martian Moons eXploration (MMX)

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has agreed to cooperate with German Aerospace Center (DLR) on the study-phase activities in JAXA's Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) mission.
Hitoshi Kuninaka, Vice President of JAXA and, Hansjörg Dittus and Walther Pelzer, Executive Board Members of DLR have signed the Implementing Arrangement at the Paris Airshow in France on June 18, 2019.

The MMX mission is planned to observe Mars' two moons, Phobos and Deimos and to collect surface material from one of the moons to bring back to Earth. It aims to clarify the origin of the Martian moons and the process of evolution for Mars region and to improve technologies required for future exploration. DLR will contribute to this mission by conducting studies of the rover which is to be equipped on MMX jointly with Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) and by providing JAXA with opportunities of experiments using the Drop Tower in Germany. DLR will also support German scientists for their participation in the MMX mission.

MMX is currently in the phase of preparation for developing a spacecraft and the launch is targeted in FY2024.

For more information on MMX, visit: MMX Web Site.

Jun. 17, 2019 Updated
Agreement with European Space Agency (ESA) for cooperation on the X-Ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission: XRISM

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has agreed to cooperate with European Space Agency (ESA) on the X-Ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission: XRISM.
Hiroshi Yamakawa, President of JAXA and Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Director General of ESA have signed the agreement in presence of ESA Council Delegates at the European Space Operation Center in Darmstadt, Germany on June 14, 2019.

The XRISM project, kicked off in 2018, is the seventh X-ray astronomy satellite program of the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, JAXA. It aims at the early recovery of the prime science objective "to solve outstanding astrophysical questions with high resolution X-ray spectroscopy" of ASTRO-H whose operation was ceased in 2016.

Under the agreement, JAXA and ESA have agreed to apply the cooperation developed through ASTRO-H in XRISM. In addition to contributing to the development of one of XRISM's most important instruments, the Soft X-ray Spectrometer, ESA will also support European scientists for their participation in the XRISM project.

XRISM is currently under development and is scheduled to be launched in FY2021.

For more information on XRISM, visit: XRISM Web Site.

Apr. 23, 2019 Updated
CLASP2 Rocket Experiment Launched

The CLASP2 sounding rocket experiment launched on April 11, 2019 at 10:51 a.m. MDT (01:51 a.m. JST on April 12) from the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, USA. It reached 274 km at maximum altitude and observed the Sun for 6 minutes from above 160 km. After the observations, the instrument parachuted down to the White Sands Desert, and was carried back to the laboratory. All the data stored in the instrument were recovered successfully.

CLASP2 Sounding Rocket launch.

CLASP2 Sounding Rocket launch. (credit: US Army Photo, White Sands Missile Range)


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