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NASA and JAXA to cooperate on Asteroid Program

PROGRAM NEWS 

12 July 2013 – Washington, DC – NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and the president of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) met in Washington on July 10 to discuss the importance of international cooperation in space, including continued support for the International Space Station and a new program to intercept asteroids.

bolden-and-naokiBolden and Naoki Okumura discussed NASA’s 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.

(photo: NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, on left, and JAXA President Naoki Okumura at NASA headquarters in Washington, DC. Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls.)

“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.”

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.

Created in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is America’s focal point for research, development and exploration of outer space.  For over 50 years, NASA has been leading the world in the development and usage of advanced program and project management.  Additional information about NASA can be found at www.nasa.gov.ource: NASA