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Asian nations launch joint space satellite programme
Tokyo, Nov 18 (Agencies):
Published on 18 Nov. 2008 11:18 PM IST
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Japan is to lead a group of Asian nations in the development of a new satellite in space. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will join forces with engineers from nations across Asia in order to create a small experimental satellite to be launched into space in 2012. The agency hopes that this will lead to the creation of a fully-fledged satellite observing the earth in order to assist participating countries with issues such as disaster management, according to reports. India, Vietnam, Indonesia, South Korea and Thailand are among countries that have reportedly expressed interest in taking part in the space project, which is backed by Japan’s science ministry and will start next year. As a 21st century space race gathers pace among Asian nations, Japan is keen to boost its international standing in the increasingly competitive world of space technology development. India is currently competing in a regional space battle with both China and Japan to become the first Asian nation to send a man to the moon, having successfully landed a lunar probe on the moon’s surface earlier this month. Last month, India and Japan signed a security cooperation pact which has paved the way for the two nation’s space agencies to collaborate in disaster management in a move likely to spark concern among space rivals in China. Meanwhile, last week, Naoko Yamazaki, 37, was unveiled as the first Japanese mother and the second woman to be sent to space after she was selected as a crew member for the shuttle Atlantis. In the two-week mission, due to take place after 2010, the Atlantis crew will carry materials for the International Space Station, a multi-billion pound project under construction for a decade and involving 15 nations, from Russia to the US.

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