The Japanese government and the U.S. space agency NASA have agreed that at least one Japanese astronaut will serve on a new space station that is part of the U.S.-led Artemis lunar exploration program.
Japan’s Science Minister Nagaoka Keiko and NASA Administrator Bill Nelson virtually signed an agreement regarding the Gateway Space Station on Friday Japan time.
Gateway will be a critical platform for future US-led space development efforts. The space station is designed to orbit the moon. NASA plans to start building it around 2024 for use in the Artemis program.
Both sides said they would continue discussions on whether more Japanese astronauts should participate in the program.
Japan will deliver four tons of supplies to Gateway using its unmanned spacecraft no later than 2030. It will also provide equipment to maintain the station’s life support capabilities.
In addition, Nagaoka announced that Japan has agreed to a US proposal to extend the operation of the International Space Station until 2030. The ISS orbits the Earth.