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Japan should develop a manned spaceship: Space agency Chief
Posted On: Apr 16, 2010
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency President Dr. Keiji Tachikawa. A file photo
The head of Japan's space development agency suggested the nation to engage in a program to develop a manned spaceship.
"I wonder whether it is good for humanity to have only three countries (the United States, Russia and China) capable of transporting humans (into outer space)," Keiji Tachikawa, president of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said during a news conference in connection with the upcoming end of the US space shuttle program.
"My official (response) is 'no idea' but as an individual, I think it is good for Japan to play a due role by participating (in the development of a manned spaceship)," he said Thursday.
The United States is said to be raising hopes for using Japan's unmanned transport vehicle called the H-2 Transfer Vehicle (HTV) for carrying humans into space. The vehicle was used last fall in delivering supplies to the International Space Station.
After its delivery mission, the HTV is designed to burn up while reentering the atmosphere.
"The first stage (of development) is to make the HTV recoverable (on Earth), and we have set up a research teach this month for that purpose, If we can attain recovery technology, humans could be transported," Tachikawa said.
"I sincerely hope the government makes up its mind on whether Japan should launch a manned mission,” he added.
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