Summary and Recommendations of
the 22nd Session of the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF-22)
December 1-4, 2015
The 22nd session of the Asia Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF-22) was successfully held in Bali, Indonesia, from December 1-4, 2015, under the overall theme “Sharing Solutions through Synergy in Space,” with the aim of enhancing regional cooperation for promoting space utilization, advancing space technology development and solving common agendas in the Asia-Pacific region. The session was attended by 478 participants from 28 countries and regions, as well as 10 international organizations.
The participants of APRSAF-22:
- Welcomed the continuous efforts, in response to the Recommendations adopted at the previous 21st Session of APRSAF, for promoting space technology development and its applications that support socio-economic benefits in the region;
- Confirmed that space technologies have been effectively applied to highly prioritized areas that include environmental monitoring, disaster risk reduction, agricultural applications, forestry, and ocean monitoring;
- Emphasized the importance of ensuring that solutions are effectively adopted in the region by strengthening partnerships not only with space agencies but also with user entities, development aid agencies as well as with the private sector, whose participation in APRSAF-22 was highly welcomed;
- Encouraged joint efforts to utilize the environment of outer space, including the unique platform of the International Space Station (ISS) Kibo, aiming at the advancement of human capacity;
- Acknowledged the importance of collaboration worldwide towards space exploration activities, and welcomed active discussions at the regional level towards acquiring new knowledge from space, and promoting research and development;
- Confirmed further promotion of regional cooperation in educational activities on the subject of space, which inspires young people who are responsible for the next generation;
- Welcomed the activity reports from the four working groups (WGs)—Space Applications, Space Technology, Space Environment Utilization, and Space Education—including the three ongoing APRSAF Initiatives: Sentinel Asia, Space Applications For Environment (SAFE) and Kibo-ABC; and
- Recognized their tangible advancement, and agreed on the following summary and recommendations for future activities:
[Space Applications Working Group (SAWG)]
- Welcomed the host country report by Indonesia and the progress of space applications in various fields in Indonesia;
- Discussed in the host country session various space applications in marine environmental monitoring, which is one of the most important fields in the Asia-Pacific region;
- Confirmed success stories where the activities of SAFE are being applied to the Asia-Pacific region through the framework of development aid agencies (e.g. Asian Development Bank (ADB), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)), including the cases for agriculture application and national frameworks by scaling up the SAFE results.
- Confirmed discussions on Sentinel Asia:
- Welcomed that the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) has become the 7th Data Provider Node (DPN) with its VNREDSat satellite and that Sentinel Asia is developing through the increasing cooperation of DPNs and Data Analysis Nodes (DANs);
- Recognized that the third phase of Sentinel Asia Success Story in the Philippines had commenced;
- Recognized that rapid and continuous response of Sentinel Asia contributes to substantial disaster management activities such as the flooding in Myanmar;
- Confirmed that the First Steering Committee (FSC) meeting was successfully held in Bangkok, and discussed the implementation strategy towards a sustainable and autonomous framework, including close information exchange between space technology and GIS-related organizations (SGO) and disaster management organizations (DMO), improving server architecture for rapid archiving, analyzing and sharing information, and capacity building for DAN as well as for users.
- Confirmed discussions on Weather and Climate:
- Realized the importance of promoting the integration of Earth observations (GEO and LEO), Multi-GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) and ICT (Information and Communication Technology) to solve national and regional issues (e.g. agriculture, forest, and public health) in Asia;
- Confirmed the outcomes of the workshop on the non-meteorological applications of Himawari-8, held in Brisbane in August 2015. The workshop discussed the utilization of Himawari-8 data in various areas, identifying focus areas where Himawari-8 products, other than weather forecasting products, would be useful for land, sea, and atmosphere;
- Welcomed that a dedicated website has been prepared to facilitate and to form professional communities, and that an ad-hoc team will be launched with the aim of establishing a new initiative at the next APRSAF-23;
- Recognized the establishment of a new initiative, establishing an ad-hoc team led by Australian and Japanese experts promoting the use of Himawari-8 data now available not only for weather forecasting but also for various other applications, and to draw the attention of other countries to such new applications. The first action of the team will be coordinating an Australia-Japan cooperative research program to validate the accuracy of aerosols and surface reflectance retrieved from Himawari-8 data.
- Discussed important factors for the expansion of success cases of space applications to the regional scale in the Asia-Pacific, in cooperation with international organizations;
Welcomed the exchange of information and opinions by focusing on important tasks for improving societal benefits in the Asia-Pacific region, and confirmed the results of activities via initiatives including Sentinel Asia, SAFE, and Weather and Climate Application Promotion:
Forestry: Discussed the current and possible space applications in the future from the perspective of forest fire monitoring and forest monitoring including haze and cloud detection by integrating utilization of earth observation satellites (such as Himawari, MODIS, GOSAT, and GCOM-C).
Agriculture: Confirmed the excellent progress of activities including rice crop monitoring via the Group on Earth Observations Global Agricultural Monitoring Initiative (GEOGLAM) Asia-Rice and the smooth provision of the rice crop outlook to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in association with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Welcomed the development of SAFE results as technical assistance projects by the ADB;
Water resource management: Welcomed the progress of satellite-based rainfall data applications in the international project of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and ADB for flood alerts, and flood forecasting system by the Hydro and Agro Informatics Institute (HAII) of Thailand.
- Shared the status of on-going and planned regional projects for food security, especially for drought and flood impact including ASEAN (AFSIS), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP), the Mekong River Commission (MRC), SERVIR-Mekong, and GEOGLAM.
- The following recommendations were made by the SAWG:
- To encourage joint activities with development aid agencies such as JICA and ADB, further cooperation with the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), such as through mutual technical assistance, and further partnerships with international organizations and initiatives including ESCAP, SERVIR-Mekong, MRC, and ASEAN;
- To develop new social applications (including forest/land fire detection, and wide-range air and smoke pollution monitoring) based on the data from both geostationary (e.g. Himawari-8) and low Earth orbit (e.g. GCOM-C) satellites in combination with Multi-GNSS and ICT, in support of the establishment of a new initiative at APRSAF-23.
- Noted that Sentinel Asia is the first successful Initiative of APRSAF as a framework for cooperation among Space technology and GIS-related organizations (SGO), and relevant disaster management organizations (DMO) to contribute to disaster management by harnessing space technology. Its activities are being pushed forward through the continuous increase in the number of member organizations and countries. APRSAF fully welcomes each new member to join in Sentinel Asia as a Data Provider Node (DPN), a Data Analysis Node (DAN) or as a member of the Joint Project Team (JPT);
- Acknowledged that the Steering Commettee of Sentinel Asia was established and is implementing a plan to evolve Sentinel Asia STEP3 based on the three strategic concepts endorsed at APRSAF-21 in 2014: jointly drive, end-user-oriented, and strategic management;
- Confirmed that the First Steering Committee (FSC) meeting was held for overall strategic management, that the establishment of a sustainable and autonomous Sentinel Asia Platform was discussed at this meeting. Such a platform shall use space technology for disaster risk and damage reduction in the Asia-Pacific region through collaboration among SGOs and DMOs, who will share the benefits from this initiative to serve their respective purposes. The work has been commenced for implementation;
- Endorsed the content of the implementation plan suggested by the FSC, including:
- timely provision of information valuable for in-situ disaster response activities through close information exchange between the in-situ DMO and DPN/DAN;
- reconfiguring WGs dedicated to different disaster types through the collaboration of SGO and DMO to discuss and suggest the best plan and methodology of developing and utilizing Earth observation products;
- promoting collaboration with institutions, universities and consortiums with the aim of establishing an archiving and sharing system of geospatial information and products; and
- implementing success stories linked with developing projects of each region.
- The following recommendations were made regarding Sentinel Asia:
- To encourage continuous active discussions in the Sentinel Asia Steering Committee with the support of the JAXA secretariat towards sustainable and autonomous operation of Sentinel Asia;
- To welcome the establishment of a system necessary for rapid information sharing and for promoting capacity building to strengthen technological background and ability as well as disaster response ability;
- To encourage enhancing the features of Sentinel Asia and its uniqueness—that is, a collaborated framework of SGO and DMO—to promote substantial disaster risk and damage reduction in the Asia-Pacific region; and to collaborate and cooperate with global disaster management frameworks such as the International Disaster Charter, the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) and other United Nations initiatives;
- To encourage strengthening the framework and architecture of Sentinel Asia towards the construction of an Asia-Pacific platform on which each member organization and country can pursue benefits by contributing to Sentinel Asia for the sustainable and autonomous operation of Sentinel Asia.
[SAFE] (Space Applications for Environment)
- Welcomed the start-up of new prototyping activities in relation to “Oil palm management” proposed by the Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA) Agricultural Services Sdn Bhd (FASSB), Malaysia; “Rice crop monitoring” proposed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), Cambodia; “Flood forecasting” proposed by the Irrigation Department (ID), Sri Lanka; “Oil palm monitoring” proposed by LAPAN, Indonesia; and “Rice crop monitoring” proposed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (MOAI), Myanmar, and confirmed the steady progress of the current prototypes;
- Recognized and appreciated the successful completion of five prototypes: Monitoring of agricultural abandoned land monitoring by Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), rice crop monitoring by the Indonesian Center for Agricultural Land Resources Research and Development (ICALRD) and Indonesia’s Ministry of Agriculture (MOA); rice crop monitoring by the Vietnam National Satellite Center (VNSC), the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST); coastal monitoring by the Vietnam Academy for Water Resources (VAWR), the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD); and flood forecasting by the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting (NCHMH), the Vietnam National Hydro-Meteorological Service (NHMS), the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE), as well as subsequent efforts to realize the sustainable use of their outcomes;
- Confirmed that the social issues, space technology needs and actions for solving actual problems were presented at the stakeholder meetings and the international conferences including the Asian Conference on Remote Sensing (ACRS) to enhance partnerships with user organizations and development aid agencies.
- The following recommendations were made regarding SAFE:
- To accept the new SAFE follow-up activity framework and implement two follow-up test cases with increased scale, out of the four completed SAFE prototyping activities, for sustainable use of SAFE accomplishments at local levels after the completion of their two-year activities, while expanding cooperation with relevant user organizations and development aid agencies;
- To continue finalizing SAFE follow-up activities and revise Terms of Reference (TOR) before the next SAFE workshop.
[Space Technology Working Group (STWG)]
- In the second year following its establishment, the working group has actively discussed the following activities:
- technological strategies and cross-cutting technologies focused on small satellites;
- applied technologies of high interest in the Asia-Pacific region such as the Automatic Identification System (AIS) and GNSS;
- engineering management such as systems engineering indispensable for practical application of space programs;
- monitoring, reduction and removal of space debris for risk mitigation;
- launch environment and orbit experiment demonstration.
- In addition, panelists exchanged views on the various efforts being made with respect to capacity building and training, sharing the challenges in each country, and expectations towards regional cooperation to solve the problems.
- The following recommendations were made by the STWG:
- To promote cooperation opportunities and more participation by sharing activities and experiences of space technology, small satellites and launch opportunities, technology management, etc. in this area;
- To promote information exchange and participation about capacity building and training opportunities in each country, especially seeking opportunities for collaboration among space agencies, industries, universities and laboratories to stimulate active discussions;
- To recognize the importance of taking measures with respect to space debris and promote information exchange and discussion regarding technical issues on space debris control and their removal;
- To strengthen cooperation among space agencies, industries, universities and laboratories as efforts toward capacity building for development of small satellites and their applications;
- To promote the continuation of this WG beyond this year for active space development in Asia-Pacific countries, as it provides excellent opportunities to discuss space technologies.
[Space Environment Utilization Working Group (SEUWG)]
- Noted that “The 1st Space Exploration and Kibo Utilization for Asia Workshop” was successfully held in Jakarta, Indonesia, in cooperation with the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN). The feasibility study of Kibo space experiments proposed in this workshop, such as CubeSat deployment, has started. The second Space Exploration and Kibo Workshop is tentatively planned to be held in an Asian country;
- Recognized the importance of promoting feasibility studies for further Kibo utilization;
- Recognized that experiments using the Exposed Experiment Handrail Attachment Mechanism (ExHAM) can be carried out in a short period of time with a lightweight and existing experiment sample, and that they are useful for satellite design.
- Recognized the importance of technology coordination with member countries for feasibility studies related to the development of nano and micro satellites;
- Comprehended the usefulness of external funds as one of the measures to secure funding for Kibo utilization.
- The following recommendations were made by SEUWG:
- To promote space technologies in more space agencies from Asia-Pacific countries in order to accelerate their activities towards the realization of space experiments at Kibo through building cooperation among engineers and researchers in the Asia-Pacific region;
- To accelerate the activities aimed at nano and micro satellite deployment using Kibo;
- To make efforts to secure the funds needed to promote advanced technology and take advantage of the opportunity of space environment utilization.
[Kibo-ABC] (Asian Beneficial Collaboration through “Kibo” Utilization)
- Shared the results of Asian Try Zero-G 2015. The new selection criteria and category for proposals of Asian Try Zero-G has been introduced. Candidate themes will undergo final consideration, and will be conducted in the year 2016;
- Recognized that the feasibility study of AHiS (Asian Herb in Space) had entered into the final phase, by the National Space Agency of Malaysia (ANGKASA) and JAXA’s activity progress reports of preliminary ground control experiments. The mission schedule was confirmed;
- Recognized that each member country considers its own plan for Kibo utilization in line with the mid- and long-term roadmaps proposed by ANGKASA, LAPAN and JAXA.
- The following recommendations were made regarding Kibo-ABC:
- To continue activities for creating new missions based on the accumulated experience from previous efforts in each of the capacity-building programs such as SSAF, Asian Try Zero-G and parabolic flight experiments;
- To encourage activities for providing opportunities for more organizations to participate in the Kibo-ABC Initiative, including the planning and reviewing process for increasing Kibo utilization such as AHiS.
[Space Education Working Group (SEWG)]
- Carried out adjustments of the seminars for teachers and educators to be held in the Asia-Pacific region for the dissemination of space education. Discussed ways to implement space education activities for the future host countries of APRSAF;
- Confirmed that the 11th APRSAF Water Rocket Event, as organized by the WG for the promotion of youth education, was held in Indonesia this year with 58 qualified students from 13 countries around the world, who actively engaged in vigorous exchange. Also confirmed that the 10th poster contest with the theme “Careers in Space”—through which the WG promotes science and technology education at a regional level—received submissions from 32 qualified students from 11 countries, and confirmed that these events will be continued next year;
- Through the above activities, reconfirmed the importance of the role of space education in the human resources development of the next generation, and successfully conducted a special session for members to utilize and experiment with educational materials and tools for two consecutive years to further promote these activities at the national and regional levels.
- The following recommendations were made by SEWG:
- To further promote educational activities, using space as a method, that will be beneficial for the human resource development of the next generation;
- To continue to conduct the Water Rocket Event and Poster Contest as means of generating young people’s interests in space and nurturing their creativity and innovative thoughts;
- To continuously collaborate in self-initiated educational programs in Asia-Pacific countries, in particular for motivating initiatives in host countries of APRSAF.
- Recognized the latest activity report on Multi-GNSS Asia (MGA) and welcomed, in particular, the active discussions on cooperation in social problem solutions using GNSS in the ASEAN region. It was also confirmed that progress was expected in regional cooperation for the construction of a system that is easy to use from the viewpoint of users of high-accuracy positioning information in the Asia-Pacific region;
- In addition, recognized that the 7th MGA Conference will be held in Negara Brunei Darussalam from December 7 to 10, 2015. Promoted MGA activities in conjunction with two Horizon 2020 projects related to Galileo: GNSS.asia and BELS.
[New Cooperation Session]
- The New Cooperation Session was established at APRSAF-20 to identify new applications and technologies that had not been covered by the existing WGs. A total of eight proposals were presented from space agencies, academia, the private sector and NPOs. The presented topics included the promotion of participation by industries in APRSAF activities, small satellites, a workshop on the next generation, and asteroid observation networks.
- Appreciated the active networking and communication through the exhibition by space agencies, industry and other organizations at APRSAF-22.
(Space and Maritime Applications)
- Welcomed the lively discussion at the special session titled “Space and Maritime Applications” featured by LAPAN, which showcased ongoing projects where space technologies such as satellite applications for maritime issues have been introduced. Acknowledged the contribution of space technology to fishery and maritime monitoring, and encouraged active support for further expanding utilization.
(Synergy in Space – Space Technology Contributing to Regional Agenda)
- Shared the success stories and challenges where space technologies were effectively utilized, in particular in the implementation of Sentinel Asia and SAFE initiatives. Highlighted the importance of concentrated efforts in support of solving national and regional issues.
(Regional Cooperation on Space Exploration)
- Welcomed the discussion on the expansion of international cooperation utilizing the International Space Station (ISS) and regional cooperation towards achieving international collaborative exploration in the special session. Emphasized the importance of promoting regional cooperation towards the global space exploration endeavor.
[Reports on Space Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region]
- Welcomed presentations made by representatives from International organizations including Group on Earth Observations (GEO), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO), and the Space Foundation from NGOs;
- Welcomed presentations made by representatives from the United States of America, and the United Kingdom on their active space cooperation with the Asia-Pacific region.
[Executive Committee (ExCom) Activity Report]
- Appreciated the efforts made by the Executive Committee (ExCom) throughout the year 2015 to make the APRSAF activities more sustainable and effective, and to enhance cooperation with various sectors in a synergistic way;
- Welcomed the proposal by ExCom to join the efforts of Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and to make a request to GEO that APRSAF to be recognized as an observer.
- Welcomed the APRSAF-23 to be held in the Philippines on November 28 – December 1, 2016 and expressed expectations for active preparations through ExCom. [pending announcement by the host country]
The APRSAF-22 participants were satisfied with the fruitful discussions that took place under the theme “Sharing Solutions through Synergy in Space,” with the aim of exploring further possibilities for the utilization of space technologies, and thus creating various new solutions by sharing knowledge and experience to meet the needs for bettering society in the Asia-Pacific region.