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The 25th Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF-25) co-organized by the Singapore Space and Technology Association (SSTA), the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology - Japan (MEXT), and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) was held from November 6-9, 2018 in Singapore under the theme “Innovative Space Technology for Evolving Needs.”

The forum was attended by 384 participants from 29 countries and regions, and nine international organizations, including four heads of space agencies and five deputy heads from Asia-Pacific countries as well as high-level officials from governmental institutions in charge of space policy.

Discussions covered a wide range of topics from technology to policy issues, including enhancement of partnership with regional international organizations for the establishment of a new SAFE initiative framework, finalization of a mission concept for co-development of an innovative small satellite, and promotion of the establishment of a policy-level community. Through the forum, participants were able to recognize the importance of further deepening cooperative relationships in the Asia-Pacific region in terms of space.

On Day 1 & 2 of the forum, all four working groups (Space Applications, Space Technology, Space Environment Utilization, Space Education) held discussions with a focus on the following important points:

Space Applications Working Group: Enhancement of partnerships with user organizations for sustainable initiatives
Space Technology Working Group: Discussions on cooperative activities to improve space technology capability in the Asia-Pacific region
Space Environment Utilization Working Group: Progress of space development and applications in the Asia-Pacific region through the utilization of ISS/Kibo
Space Education Working Group: Human resource development for the next generation

The first day of the plenary session began with a welcome address by Mr. Jonathan Hung, SSTA President, opening remarks by Ms. Naoko Okamura, APRSAF-25 General Co-chair and MEXT Research and Development Bureau Deputy Director General. The keynote speech by the forum’s Japan co-organizer JAXA President, Dr. Hiroshi Yamakawa.

In the first session, reports were given on APRSAF-24, APRSAF Executive Committee activities and participating countries and international organizations provided information on their recent activities and policies to promote the space industry. The sharing of issues by each country was a chance to recognize the importance of international cooperation.

Two panel discussions were held in the afternoon.

In the Heads of Space Agencies Session, the nine agency heads took the stage to introduce satellite development and satellite data utilization etc. to solve societal issues such as disasters and climate change under the theme “Innovative Space Technology for Solving Societal Issues.” In the session, the importance of cooperation with the private sector in promoting the utilization of space technology was pointed out. Furthermore, a proposal was submitted for the creation of a platform in which satellite data, knowledge, and experiences etc. could be shared to achieve the common theme of SDGs to which the speakers showed approval.

In the session organized by SSTA, organizations which includes government agencies, private companies and academia in Singapore participated and introduced Singapore’s latest space technology research and development and its application in fields such as satellite development, communication, and positioning. Singapore shows excellence in terms of acceptability and diversity of innovation. However, the securement of a manufacturing supply chain was raised as an issue.

On the second day of the plenary session, two panel discussions were organized.

In the Space Policy Session, representatives who are in charge of space policy in Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam introduced each country’s policies and initiatives toward creating new players in space and exchanged their views on the challenges, key success factors and possibility of international cooperation. Participants raised important points to promote space industry such as proper laws and regulations, awareness of business opportunity in space, prospect for program continuity, and innovative technology acquisition.

In the Space Exploration Session, Japan (MEXT, JAXA), space agencies from India, Indonesia, and the US, Australian private company, and Japanese academia participated to discuss opportunities of Asia-Pacific countries to involve in space exploration and introduce potential collaborative between space agencies and industries/academia. MEXT presented the results of the second International Space Exploration Forum (ISEF2) while JAXA outlined partnership cases with Japanese companies as an effort of JAXA Space Exploration Innovation Hub Center.

During the session, the importance of continuing discussion regarding space exploration in the Asia-Pacific region was recognized, and participants confirmed that APRSAF will continue to highlight the importance of international space exploration.

Following the APRSAF-25 discussions, exchange of the views were held on the future direction of space activities and expectations of APRSAF at a round table session by leaders in the area of space. Some opinions were expressed that it is important to establish a forum for dialogue with industries including start-ups and human resources for the next generation, and the importance of linking regional efforts with global ones. The results of APRSAF-25 were summarized in a Joint Statement and confirmed by the participants.

In addition to the 4-day forum, a water rocket and poster contest for children and students by the Space Education Working Group, a workshop organized by the WG Initiative and booth exhibitions by corporations and universities were held making it a place where a wide range of people could participate.

The next APRSAF-26 will be held in Japan from the end of November to the beginning of December 2019 (※scheduled to be a four day session), and will be co-organized by MEXT and JAXA.


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> No.28 <September 2018>