Space Technology

Japan has set a budget for space operations of $4.14 billion, which is a new high

As per the draft budget reports, Japan is preparing a record space expenditure of $4.14 billion (449.6 billion yen) in the financial year 2021, up 23.1 percent from the current financial year, which ends March 30 reaction to the re-ignited global space race.

The planned space expenditure for Japan involves $472 million (51.4 billion yen) for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to engage in NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration project, 18.9 billion yen for the production and development of H3 rocket, as well as 80 billion yen for nation’s Information Gathering Satellite.

Japan also plans to increase the Space Operations Squadron, a modern space defense unit underneath the Japan Air Self-Defense Force that was launched in 2020 May with twenty members to track and combat challenges to Japan’s satellites, with an unspecified overall expenditure in the documents. According to the papers, the squadron will be restructured this year to recruit 50 more participants as well as “carry out various preparation and execution of operations in outer space.”

The 449.6 billion yen, which is meant for the space operations, was authorized by Japan’s House of Representatives on 2 March as a component of a bigger preliminary general-account expenditure of$979 billion (106.6 trillion yen) for the financial year 2021. As per Kyodo News Agency, the funding bill is currently on the floor of the House of Councilors, pending final approval.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, which manages JAXA, will receive approximately half of the space budget, or about 212.4 billion yen. 37 billion yen of 51.4 billion yen set aside for Japan’s involvement in NASA’s Artemis project will be utilized to build the HTV-X, a modern space station resupply vehicle.  The lunar Gateway, a proposed small space station in the lunar orbit that will act as a solar-powered communications center, research laboratory, a short-term habitation module, as well as storage area for rovers and the other robots, will receive 6.1 billion yen.

According to the budget papers, 3.4 billion yen will go toward developing the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM), the lunar lander being built by JAXA, as well as 2.8 billion yen will go toward the Lunar Polar Exploration (LUPEX), which is a collaborative operation between JAXA as well as its Indian equivalent, the Indian Space Research Organization, targeted at investigating moon’s south pole in the year 2023.