On 25 February 2016, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) signed an ‘Inter Agency Arrangement for Strategic Partnership’ at the German Embassy in Tokyo, Japan. With this arrangement, both partners intend to jointly undertake the new role of space agencies and significantly contribute to the advancement of the world’s space development.
The German Ambassador to Japan, Hans Carl von Werther, welcomed the arrangement: “Germany and Japan are highly technological nations that cooperate closely in research and science. The strategic partnership between DLR and JAXA agreed upon today will strengthen both countries.”
The arrangement was signed by Pascale Ehrenfreund, Chair of the DLR Executive Board, and Naoki Okumura, President of JAXA. “The scientific and technical cooperation between Germany and Japan is characterised by high levels of excellence and expertise in tackling common global challenges,” says Ehrenfreund, adding: “Japan is among DLR’s most important partner countries. With this new cooperation arrangement, we want to further strengthen our strategic partnership with JAXA by intensifying not only the current scientific and technical cooperation, but also the cultural exchange between our two research institutions.”
“Recently, the space development environment has changed significantly with, for example, the rise of the private sector and increasing space development and utilisation by emerging countries. With this arrangement, JAXA aims to build a new role for national space agencies with DLR, with whom we have enjoyed working together as leaders in the space sector. I am confident that we will be able to provide better and more effective value for society through a strategic partnership between both space agencies, which pursue high technology solutions and have excellent human resources. This can be achieved by complementing each other sharing and exploiting synergies,” says Okumura
At present, various DLR institutes are collaborating with 18 scientific institutions and universities in Japan as part of of more than 30 aerospace projects. These are in the areas of, for example, Earth observation and planetary science, space robotics, aircraft design and atmospheric research. In addition, services in support of government and industry are provided.
The main goals of the arrangement are:
In this context, DLR and JAXA intend to collaborate in the area of Space Utilisation and R&D with for example, L- and X-band radar technologies for Earth observation, work together in disaster management, and conduct research into reusable launchers. Another important area is the exploration of the Solar System; at present, the DLR MASCOT lander is on board the JAXA Hayabusa 2 spacecraft, en route to asteroid Ryugu previously 1999 JU3), where it will land after 2018 and explore its surface. Germany and Japan also utilise the International Space Station (ISS) intensively to answer questions in the fields of medicine, materials science and fundamental research.
Industrial cooperation between the two countries will also be intensified.