PH, Japan ink space cooperation pact

Published June 12, 2021, 3:14 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

The Philippines and Japan have signed a memorandum of cooperation (MOC) to enhance their partnership in space science and space exploration.

Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) logos

In a virtual ceremony, Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) Director-General Joel Joseph Marciano Jr. signed the agreement with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) President Yamakawa Hiroshi.

The MOC aims to provide a framework of cooperation in the following areas: space applications; satellite development; space environment utilization; capacity building for space-related technology development, space policy, and legislation; space science and space exploration; and promotion of space industry. The two organizations may also identify other areas of cooperation.

In his remark, Marciano said the signing was to further the space cooperation between the countries while continuing to build forward, inspire, and open more opportunities for Filipinos to access and benefit from space.

“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 space-borne data,” he said.

“Together, we will create even more value from these activities and cascade them further to society,” he added.

Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose Laurel V, who was also present at the ceremony, commended both parties for this achievement, noting that this year also marks the 65th anniversary of Philippine-Japanese relations and the 10th year of both countries’ strategic partnership.

“The signing of the MOC opens the door wider into that future,” he said.

“I, along with my colleagues in the Embassy, am proud to be part of this effort, because our small investments today will mobilize generations who come after us in their bid to conquer new frontiers,” he added.

PhilSA was established in 2019 as the central government agency addressing all national issues and activities related to space science and technology applications.

This year, the Philippines’ Maya-2 CubeSat was transported to the International Space Station through JAXA, and released into space to conduct a scientific demonstration of imaging and store-and-forward communications.

Maya-2 was completed by Filipino engineers in cooperation with the Kyushu Institute of Technology, with funding from the Philippine government through the Department of Science and Technology.

Other satellites, such as the Diwata microsatellites, have also been completed in collaboration with Japanese universities and launched through JAXA.

The Philippines continues to engage in various activities spearheaded by JAXA, such as the annual Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF), the National Space Legislation Initiative (NSLI), and the Sentinel Asia.

The Philippines, which hosted the APRSAF in 2016, has been regularly participating in its various working groups as a venue for exchanging experiences and best practices in space development and utilization.

It also contributed to the drafting of the NSLI report, which was submitted to the 60th session of the Legal Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

Through Sentinel Asia, the country was able to obtain additional support for disaster management through Earth observation satellite data, geographic information systems, and other space-based technologies.