November 30 - December 3, 2021
November 30 - December 3, 2021
The 27th Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF-27) was co-hosted by the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST), the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) of Japan, and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) for 4 days from November 30 to December 3, 2021, under the theme “Expand Space Innovation through Diverse Partnerships” in a fully online format.
A total of 843 people from 48 countries/regions and 2 international organizations registered to participate in the meeting, the first fully online meeting of APRSAF, which was attended by 15 heads and representatives of space agencies from Asia-Pacific countries, as well as high-level participants from ministries in charge of space policy.
The meeting of the working groups, which was postponed last year, was held online this time. The 5 Working Groups, including the newly established Space Policy and Law Working Group and the 4 reorganized Working Groups, engaged in active discussions from different perspectives with diverse participants. The APRSAF-27 endorsed the progress of activities based on the “Nagoya Vision” and summarized the outcome of the annual meeting in a “Joint Statement.”
The two-day plenary session opened with video messages from Dr. Chau Van Minh, President of the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST), and Mr. Shinsuke Suematsu, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. It was held under the themes of: 1) "Addressing Climate Change and Environmental Issues through Space Technology," 2) "Practices for Sustainable Use of Outer Space," and 3) "Innovations for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific," among others, and the participants acknowledged the progress of space activities in the Asia-Pacific region through discussions with various participants outside the space sector. The following is a report on each session.
(1) Country Reports
Reports were shared from 18 countries on their latest activities, future plans, and policy initiatives such as industrial development.
(2) Live Session 1: “Addressing Climate Change and Environmental Issues through Space Technology”
VNSC and JAXA moderated a discussion on "Climate Change," which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) declared that it is "unequivocal" that human activities have impacted global warming. The participants agreed to contribute to the fight against climate change through satellite data analysis conducted by researchers from Vietnam, Australia, India, France, and Japan.
(3) Working Groups and Initiative Reports
A summary of the Working Group meetings held on November 30 and December 1 was reported.
(4) Live Session 2: “Practices for the Sustainable Use of Outer Space”
Speakers from the government, space agencies, academia, and industry presented their efforts to address the issue of space debris. The participants shared the understanding that it is important to establish rules related to space debris in order to further promote commercial activities and to ensure responsible activities by operators amidst the rapidly expanding civil space activities.
(5) Live Session 3: “Innovation for Sustainable Development in the Asia-Pacific Region”
Following the discussion at the Space Industry Workshop held prior to the Plenary Session on topics such as space policy in the Asian region and the Asian region from the perspective of institutional investors, it was agreed upon that the space industry is essential for socio-economic development and that the evolving role of government agencies and public-private partnerships are important for space innovation.
At the Roundtable, the heads and representatives of space agencies from 15 countries took the stage in turn to share their views and visions on the APRSAF-27 theme, "Expand Space Innovation through Diverse Partnerships," and gave feedback on the meeting in general and expressed their expectations for future APRSAF activities.
(7) APRSAF Awards
The Asia-Pacific Region Excellence in Space Award, which was presented for the first time, was awarded to Professor Shinichi Nakasuka, Graduate School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo, for his outstanding contribution to space-related activities in the Asia-Pacific region.
(8) Outcome Document
The “APRSAF-27 Joint Statement”, summarizing the discussion at APRSAF-27, was adopted as its outcome document.
The following are the results of the discussions in each Working Group and workshop as reported in the plenary session.
(1) Satellite Applications for Societal Benefit Working Group (SAWG)
To realize the Nagoya Vision, the newly restructured SAWG organized a positioning satellite session, in addition to the sessions on Sentinel Asia (disaster monitoring) and SAFE (climate change and environmental monitoring) which are the two existing initiatives, sharing the activities of MGA (Multi-GNSS Asia) among others. It was agreed that the session on positioning satellites will be held at the APRSAF/SAWG next year, and that the session on integrated use of earth observation and positioning satellites will be continued.
The participants also acknowledged the progress of Sentinel Asia's emergency disaster observation, and the activities of STEP3 (activities in response to the disaster cycle, which encompasses post-disaster situational awareness, mitigation and recovery) through multilateral autonomous cooperation and its contribution to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Reduction. In addition, they recognized the advancement of SAFE's multi-agency agricultural project conducted by ISRO, GISTDA, and others, as well as the established use of the SAFE project outcome, such as the rice crop outlook report of the ASEAN Food Security Information System Project.
(2) Enhancement of Space Capability Working Group (SCWG)
In order to improve the capability of space technology development in the Asia-Pacific region and to contribute to the establishment and strengthening of the technological base, the SCWG, which held its first meeting, engaged in the following activities: (i) Information exchange on the utilization of nano/small satellites and elemental technologies that contribute to improving the capabilities of small satellites in each country, and information sharing on technical approaches to debris problems, (ii) Sharing of actual examples of systems engineering and project management (SE/PM) approaches, and (iii) Information exchange on safety and mission assurance (S&MA) activities.
A total of more than 100 participants actively exchanged their views via voice and chat over the two days. In the technical session, R&D activities of each country and products and business plans of space-related companies were shared. In the SE/PM session, a breakout session (small group discussion) was held with the cooperation of Keio University's Graduate School of System Design and Management, fostering mutual understanding among the participants through round table discussions and laying the foundation for the formation of SE/PM and S&MA communities in the region.
(3) Space Education for All Working Group (SE4AWG)
With the participation of new players from higher education (UNISEC, universities, etc.), reports on space education activities and materials were presented by 9 countries and 1 international organization under the theme of space education for all people, overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking ahead, the participants supported the idea of continuing the higher education session and conducting information exchange on best practices going forward.
An online water rocket competition was held for the first time with the participation of 64 students and 29 educators from 12 countries. The winners were:
1st place: Colombia, 2nd place: Korea, 3rd place: Korea. Team Award (Fair Play): China.
It was agreed to improve the data acquisition capabilities (measuring acceleration, angular velocity, and altitude) for the next competition.
Following on from last year's event, an online poster contest was held, using a tallying system that gives equal weight to the sum of the votes cast by APRSAF participants and the sum of the public votes. 30 entries were received from 10 countries. The winners are as follows:
Grand Prize: Malaysia, Excellence Award: China, Malaysia, VNSC Award: Indonesia, JAXA Award: China
(4) Space Frontier Working Group (SFWG)
With the dramatic increase in the number of Kibo-ABC member institutions, a record number of countries and regions participated in the Working Group session. Strong expectations for and importance of multilateral educational missions, such as plant cultivation and robot programming, were expressed by participants, and new proposals for “Kibo” utilization were presented, giving birth to multiple bilateral cooperation projects.
SFWG activity report in 2020-2021
(5) Space Policy and Law Working Group (SPLWG)
As newly established, this was the very first meeting of the Working Group. The SPLWG is operated under the new approach: planning and management by the organizing committee consisting of the host country's ministries, space agency, universities, and representatives of open-call sessions and conducting the open call for sessions and presentations. In the session concerning National Space Legislation Initiative (NSLI), its achievement, the report compiled under NSLI was jointly submitted from 9 NSLI participating countries to the Legal Subcommittee of the United Nations Peaceful Use of Outer Space(UNCOPUOS), was welcomed. Further the second phase of the Initiative was launched with an extended period of initiative implementation. In addition, with approximately 100 participants attending on both days, there were active discussions on a variety of topics including the introduction session of the latest space law and policies in the region, sessions on global issues such as climate change and space sustainability, and panel discussions on academic issues such as the role of universities and policy logics. It was acknowledged that the SPLWG is a valuable platform for the exchange of views on common regional issues and confirmed the Working Group will continue to discuss global issues as the region.
(6) Space Industry Workshop (SIWS)
It was the first workshop of this kind organized by APRSAF. With the support of the relevant government ministries and agencies, the event was co-hosted with SPACETIDE. Through 3 panel discussions, the panelists discussed the current status and future direction of space industry promotion in the Asia-Pacific region. In addition to governmental organizations, institutional investors from Europe and the U.S., and representatives of start-ups active in the Asian region were invited as panelists, resulting in lively discussions from new perspectives, which were further discussed in Live Session 3 of the Plenary Session.
7 events were held online. ( ) indicates the host organization
It was decided that the next APRSAF-28 (2022) will be held in Vietnam.
It was also confirmed that APRSAF-29 will be held in Indonesia in 2023.