Monday, May 27, 2024

PH, Japan space agencies sign cooperation agreement

The Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on Friday, June 11, in a virtual signing ceremony held simultaneously in Manila and Tokyo.

The signing was led by PhilSA director-general Joel Marciano Jr. and JAXA president Hiroshi Yamakawa.

The MOC seeks to explore opportunities for collaboration in the areas of:

  1. Space Applications;
  2. Satellite Development;
  3. Space Environment Utilization;
  4. Capacity building for space related technology development, space policy and legislation,
  5. Space science and space exploration,
  6. Promotion of space industry.

With the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the agreement also defines procedures of collaboration based on peaceful and mutually beneficial uses of outer space.

“As we sign this agreement, we look back to what our country has been able to achieve in space over a relatively short period of time, and how Japan has contributed substantially to those efforts. Today, with JAXA, we look to further that cooperation as we continue to build forward, inspire, and open more opportunities for Filipinos to access and benefit from space,” Marciano said.

He added: “We bring to this cooperation our people and their experience from the Diwata and Maya satellites, along with our investments in ground infrastructure and capabilities for processing and analyzing spaceborne data. Together, we will create even more value from these activities and cascade them further to society.”

In his remarks, Yamakawa said: “I’m very pleased to say JAXA is the first foreign space agency to sign a Memorandum of Cooperation with PhilSA. We understand that PhilSA is actively recruiting talented individuals and steadily building its organisation. As PhilSA begins its full-scale activities, we will be happy to work with you if our experience can be of any help.”

Yamakawa added: “Through our cooperation, JAXA hopes to jointly lead space activities in the Asia Pacific Region with PhilSA and contribute together with our space technology for socio economic development of the region.”

The virtual ceremony was witnessed by Philippine ambassador to Japan Jose Castillo Laurel V, Japan ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhiko Koshikawa, JAXA vice president ISHII Yasuo, and JAXA director for international relations and research department Yoshikazu Shoji. Also present at the event were members of the Philippine Space Council (PSC) led by council vice chairperson and Department of Science and Technology (DOST) secretary Fortunato Dela Peña.

This is the second international agreement that PhilSA has signed in two weeks. On Friday, June 4, PhilSA inked a cooperation deal with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) for collaboration on the use of space-based information for socio-economic development and attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.

JAXA has been a partner of the Philippines in space science, technology and applications programs. The Philippines, through the DOST, collaborated with Japanese universities in the development and launch of the Philippines’ first microsatellites, Diwata-1 and Diwata-2, and nanosatellites Maya-1 Maya-2. Recently completed Maya-3 and Maya-4, the first Philippine university-built nanosatellites, were turned over to JAXA in April and are set to be launched this year.

Founded in 2003, JAXA was formed through the merger of three institutions: the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS); the National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan (NAL), and: the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA). 

The PhilSA, meanwhile, was created by virtue of Republic Act 11363, “The Philippine Space Act”, which was enacted into law in 2019. It the central government agency addressing all national issues and activities related to space science and technology applications (SSTA). PhilSA is headed by a director general with the rank of a cabinet secretary, who also serves as the presidential adviser on space matters.

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