Seiji Tanaka, for The Asahi Shimbun:
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) revealed its ambitious plan for a Japanese astronaut to set foot on the moon around 2030.
But rather than developing its own manned space rocket, and shoot to the moon, JAXA plans on a much shorter trip.
It hopes that a U.S. space station planned to go into lunar orbit will allow Japanese astronauts to hop off and on to the moon around 2030.
This is exactly what NASA was hoping to achieve by putting the plans for the Deep Space Gateway out into the public eye. They need international and commercial partners to latch onto the idea of the Deep Space Gateway, develop plans to use it, and talk about those plans publicly. That’s how they can build support for it within the US political sphere, and that’s how they can get it funded.
Lunar surface access is exactly the gap they were hoping for partners to step up and fill in, and there’s already interest from Blue Origin and now JAXA.