The U.S. Space Force and Japan’s Office of National Space Policy signed an historic Memorandum of Understanding this week to launch two U.S. payloads on Japan’s Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS).
The U.S. Department of the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center (DAF SMC) is developing the payloads, which feature Space Domain Awareness optical sensors and will launch from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center in 2023 and 2024, respectively. Enhancing Space Domain Awareness is essential to protect the space operations of the U.S, Japan, and other partners. A secure, stable, and accessible space domain is critical to our national security, the health of our respective economies, and enables scientific endeavors which provide environmental benefits.
Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett hailed the agreement.
“Space-based systems are integral to modern life,” said Barrett. “This memorandum helps secure capabilities ranging from GPS to communications satellites and more. I congratulate the U.S. Space Force and Japan on achieving this milestone.”
The MOU demonstrates a shared commitment to increase space partnership in alignment with both allies’ national space policies, central to the U.S. Space Force’s priority of expanding cooperation to enhance prosperity and security.
“Our efforts to promote stability in the space domain are enhanced by multinational cooperation,” said Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond. “I can think of no better way to celebrate the U.S. Space Force’s first birthday this month than to sign such an important and beneficial agreement with our stalwart ally and friend, Japan. We are stronger together.”
Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for International Affairs Kelli Seybolt agreed.
“Enhancing Space Domain Awareness is just the first step in expanding our space partnership with Japan,” Seybolt said. “We look forward to building on this agreement as we deepen and expand space cooperation with our trusted ally.”
Department of the Air Force International Affairs serves as the lead integrator for space security cooperation, and works in close coordination with the Space and Missile Systems Center to strengthen alliances and build new partnerships in support of the U.S. Space Force.