Tokyo begins recruiting astronauts for lunar exploration projects. On Friday, the government announced that it is ready to accept applications for participation in space programs for the first time in 13 years. The Kyodo news agency reports.
The Japanese government begins a program to recruit astronauts to participate in the American Artemis lunar exploration project. This was announced at a press conference in Tokyo by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Koichi Hagiuda.
“It is very important that Japanese researchers participate in this project. The state will support the selection of worthy candidates, ”he emphasized.
Now in Japan, seven astronauts are part of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAEA), and three of them have already been in space. The government will be collecting applications in late 2021, and a selected group of astronauts could be part of a US-led lunar exploration project.
Note that Japan is recruiting astronauts for the first time since 2008.
“From now on, we will be asking for applications approximately every five years to keep the cosmonaut group [ready],” Hagiuda said.
The US intends to send humans to the moon by 2024 through the Artemis program, the first since NASA’s 1972 Apollo 17 mission. Tokyo joined the US-led international Artemis program earlier this month. In addition, in July, Tokyo and Washington agreed to collaborate on NASA-led lunar exploration.
The Artemis project, according to the plans of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), will consist of three phases. The first (Artemis I) includes the unmanned flight of the Orion spacecraft mounted on the Space Launch System around the Moon and its return to Earth. The second stage (Artemis II) – a flight around a natural satellite of the Earth with a crew on board is scheduled for 2022. In the third phase (Artemis III), NASA expects to land astronauts on the moon in 2024.