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'Space Technology Strategy' for rapid growth to keep up with global development competition decided by Cabinet Office


The Cabinet Office's Committee on National Space Policy has decided on a space technology strategy that outlines priority technologies to be developed in the space sector and a timeline for their achievement. Sanae Takaichi, Minister of State for Space Policy, said, "We will utilize the Space Development Fund, providing a total of 1 trillion yen in support over the next 10 years to implement this strategy to ensure the autonomy of Japan's space activities and to achieve dramatic growth to keep up with the intensifying global competition in space development."

The strategy addresses, to the greatest extent it can, issues in the fields of satellites, space science and exploration, space transportation, and common technologies. Specifically, the strategy discusses how to proceed with the development and the importance in regard to the following issues: security, space science and exploration missions, commercial missions, the development of advanced and basic technologies at the preliminary implementation stages in these missions, and development support for commercialization undertaken mainly by private organizations.

The strategy will be referenced by the relevant ministries and agencies in future budget requests and execution relating to their own budget for technological development and the Space Strategic Fund, which aims to provide a total of 1 trillion yen in support over 10 years. The strategy will be reviewed based on the current situation. For example, expanding the application of next-generation communications services between satellites, orbits, space and ground to communications satellite constellations will enable large capacity real-time transmission which will ensure durable communication in the event of disaster or emergency.

For this purpose, the strategy will promote the development of basic technologies such as research, development, and demonstration of low earth orbit inter-satellite optical communication network systems, inter-satellite optical communication terminals, 10 Gbps optical communication between geostationary orbit and the ground, 100 Gbps optical communication between low orbit and the ground, and so on. Regarding satellite positioning systems, smart antennas and other devices to eliminate intentional and unintentional interference will be developed to improve the sophistication, durability, and security of user terminals for the quasi-zenith satellite system. The development of various sensor technologies in the field of remote sensing was incorporated. The common basic technologies that will be developed to support satellite miniaturization and mission sophistication include basic electrical technologies, such as power supply systems and flat-pack solar array paddles, and various thrusters and other basic mechanical technologies.

Regarding space science and exploration, the strategy includes space cooling, observation, sample return, atmospheric entry, aerodynamic braking and landing, inter-orbit transportation in deep space and other technologies from the perspective of technological superiority, autonomy, and urgency.

This article has been translated by JST with permission from The Science News Ltd. ( Unauthorized reproduction of the article and photographs is prohibited.

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