Japanese gov't approves plan to join new U.S.-led space station project

Source: Xinhua| 2017-12-12 16:03:08|Editor: Lu Hui
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TOKYO, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- The Japanese government on Tuesday gave the go-ahead to join a U.S-led plan to build a new space station in the moon's orbit.

The Japanese government hopes the ambitious plan will provide opportunities for Japanese astronauts to visit the lunar surface for the first time.

Japan's contribution to the project, believed to be completed in the first half of the 2020s, is to provide an unmanned cargo ship and technology that will help prevent against radiation in space.

"Areas of activity for human beings in space, including development around the moon, have expanded very much," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was quoted as telling a meeting of the government's strategic headquarters for space policy.

"We will accelerate discussions of international probing of space by strengthening cooperation with the United States and others," Abe, who also chairs the strategic headquarters, said.

Following Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump agreeing in summit talks in November to advance a collaborative approach to space exploration, Japan subsequently endorsed the basic plan.