Three government-affiliated space agencies signed an agreement Friday to cooperate in technological development following mishaps with the government’s launch of rockets in 1999 and 2000, officials said.
The three — all affiliated with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology — are the National Space Development Agency of Japan, the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, and the National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan.
For the current fiscal year, the agencies will focus on improving the reliability of the engine of the newly developed H-IIA rocket, designed to put satellites in orbit, as well as improving technology for solid-fuel rockets, among other projects, the officials said.
They will also consider sharing ground facilities to track satellite launches and information and telecommunications infrastructure.
The three agencies set up a joint office Friday as well as two project promotion panels of experts and five working groups, with the aim of achieving concrete results through cooperation within three years.
Japan aborted the launch of an H-II rocket in November 1999 after one of its engines suddenly failed, forcing ground controllers to blow up the rocket and a satellite it was carrying.
The government also failed to put a satellite into orbit in February 2000 because of a glitch in the rocket’s engine.
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