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NASA Space

NASA May Hire Japanese Spacecraft For ISS Service Mission 87

Posted by timothy
from the gudgilla-power dept.
schliz writes "NASA is talking to Japan's space agency about using one of its spacecraft for servicing missions to the International Space Station, according to Japanese media reports. NASA has been considering various options to maintain its commitment to the Space Station after the Space Shuttle is retired from service in 2010. According to Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun, 'unofficial negotiations' between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa) began in February."
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NASA May Hire Japanese Spacecraft For ISS Service Mission

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  • What is Japan going to want in return for this? It's only fair that we give them something. This could easily be a win win situation for us though. We maintain our commitment to the ISS, and Japan not only looks good lending out a space shuttle to the US but could also something major in return. Please reply with your idea about what Japan could get in return.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      They already have so much cool shit that they probably don't need anything.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Money, duh! The same thing the Russians got when they were the sole suppliers to the ISS for a couple of years.

      It is a good deal for NASA. The most wasteful Space Shuttle missions are the resupply missions. It is idiotic to spend $1 billion per Space Shuttle flight when two of these spacecraft can do the same for about $250 million.

      • This is a great idea. The Japanese are a very ingenious people. If their space ships are half as impressive as Mr. Roboto, we are in business!!!

    • Guts and Glory (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @11:50AM (#24290119) Homepage Journal

      Japan could get in return valuable space operations experience, and first rate publicity for their space program which should help them get more of their own domestic funding.

      Just like NASA gets.

      This is the International Space Station. All the science is published. All the different nations get to develop and test their space tech in (and orbiting) the real world. They get to test interop with the global space industry. They get the glory of high profile missions featured on US, and then international, TV.

      The US already takes the risk of leading this project. It already is the guarantor of funding, and pays most of the bills. Why should Japan get paid to get the same benefits the US has to pay to get?

      • by rbanffy (584143)

        "Why should Japan get paid to get the same benefits the US has to pay to get?"

        Because they won't do it for free?

        • by Doc Ruby (173196)

          Yes they will. That's what diplomacy is all about. Negotiations between countries for their mutual benefit.

          If Japan wants to be included in more space science missions, it will join the mission in the same spirit the US leads it.

          Or lead their own and invite the US along.

          • by rbanffy (584143)

            In any way you put it, they won't do it for free.

            They may even do it for no money, but, after all, that's what diplomacy is for - to turn money (or the lack of it) into political influence.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Doc Ruby (173196)

              Well, no one's asking them to do it for nothing.

              But "for no money" is equal to "for free". Though, as I keep pointing out, Japan would get benefits apart from a monetary fee.

              FWIW, diplomacy often uses money, but it is not always defined by money. Diplomacy is to turn communication into political influence, even when no money changes hands, or even remains in the same hands in any differential. Diplomacy negotiates exchanges, but they can be entirely non material, and valued completely differently on either

      • by khallow (566160)
        Because Japan is providing a service that NASA needs. And to be honest, valuable space operations experience and first rate publicity just isn't that valuable without a paying customer.
        • by Doc Ruby (173196)

          NASA is providing plenty of services in return, in the rest of the mission. The paying customers in each case are the taxpayers of each nation, which get an escalated domestic space industry capacity, and the glory.

          How is the US the only one for which these missions are worth spending the money?

          • by khallow (566160)

            NASA is providing plenty of services in return, in the rest of the mission. The paying customers in each case are the taxpayers of each nation, which get an escalated domestic space industry capacity, and the glory.

            How is the US the only one for which these missions are worth spending the money?

            The US was the only ones who had to rationalize dubious expensive public spending, namely the Space Shuttle and the at least $2 billion a year that goes to NASA contractors whether the Shuttle flies or not. Or pursue costly nuclear proliferation decisions like delaying the ISS in exchange for paying Russia to keep better care of their rocket scientists. Nobody else has weird agendas that require them to overspend greatly on space objectives. Japan is simply making a rational decision.

            • Re:Guts and Glory (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:22PM (#24294529) Homepage Journal

              Yeah, Japan's decision to get paid to do what America is giving to the world for free is indeed rational. Nice work if you can get it.

              But that has nothing to do with how the US uses NASA for other political agendas. Even if those agendas, at US expense, keep Russian rocket scientists in space exploration rather than weapons development, pointing missiles at Japan across the Japan Sea. Why not? The US pays for most of Japan's domestic defense anyway, not to mention the rest of the global security that protects Japan's export empire and the sources of the imports that keep Japan alive.

              But like I said, that has nothing to do with whether Japan should pay its own way in the ISS mission. Japan's not being asked to pay for the rest of the US' agenda, whether that other agenda benefits Japan or not.

              What I'm saying is that Japan's participation in the ISS program benefits Japan the way that the US' participation benefits the US. Which is why the US pays its way. Sure, the US also pays the way of some countries, like Russia, because Russia can't even feed its own people (while its oilocracy is diverting the economy to Putin's cronies), and Russia is of course a security threat to the rest of the world unless its idle hands are kept at constructive work. But that shouldn't stop Japan, which would be investing in its own domestic space industry here. Why should the US pay for that?

              I suppose that since the US would have to spend money borrowed from Japan (and others) on top of the $400B the US already borrowed from Japan, it's "rational" of Japan to demand payment that will also become something like 150% bigger once fully paid off as US Treasury Bonds. But there's nothing rational at all in the US deciding to do something foolhardy like that.

              • by Kumiorava (95318)

                You forget that US has much bigger stake in the ISS than any other country. This mean US also takes bigger responsibility of the expenses, gets more research time, more astronaut days, and so on. All the benefits are related to the expenses paid in creating the space station. You cannot pin these agreed expenses on some other country just because you feel the other country is also getting benefits out of the trip, whole reason of the joint venture is that everyone benefits based on their investment in the v

                • by Doc Ruby (173196)

                  But I'm not asking Japan to pay for the rest of the ISS outside their own mission. I'm just saying that Japan should pay its own way. Since the ISS is so much bigger than this Japanese mission, that means that Japan is getting to take advantage of a much larger infrastructure in their own mission than they could possibly afford on their own. So Japan's mission is an investment in its own space program that is already subsidized by the US' very large investment in the rest of the ISS.

                  The US shouldn't additio

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      My guess is they'll buy F-22s. They've been asking to buy them for a while, and there's certainly been a history of sales of US fighters to them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by afidel (530433)
        Nope, the Air Force and Congress are pretty adamant about not selling the F-22 to anyone. They are willing to sell the F-35 JSF however which in many ways is a detuned F-22.
        • Re:In return? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by ricegf (1059658) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @01:17PM (#24291531) Journal

          They are willing to sell the F-35 JSF however which in many ways is a detuned F-22.

          Other than a generally similar body shape, the F-22 and F-35 have little in common. The F-35 is a clean sheet design by a Lockheed / Northrop / BAES team focused on strike and close air support missions, vertical take-off and landing, and carrier operations. The F-22 preceded it by 10 years, was designed by a Lockheed / Boeing team, and focuses on air dominance.

          Different missions, different designs. The F-35 is far more versatile and affordable than its predecessor, and unlike the F-22 was designed from the ground up as an export product. It's not as good at the mission for which the F-22 was designed (of course!), but it's hardly "detuned".

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by peragrin (659227)

          Very true. a lot of the R&D costs of the F-35 are actually tech and tenquies learned from the F-22 making the cost of the plane far far lower.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      They should ask to have their military back. Just saying.
    • by kellyb9 (954229) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @12:04PM (#24290329)

      What is Japan going to want in return for this?

      They'll probably want Irrigation and Iron Working in return. Possibly 40 gold pieces and a Defensive Pact. I'm sorry... I've been playing a lot of civ lately.

      • by Illbay (700081) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @12:06PM (#24290363) Journal
        Well, we tried that, but all the Japanese ambassador would say is "That's not going to happen."
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by kellyb9 (954229)
          The benevolent Americans demand that you give us Space Flight and Atomic Theory or else we will have to crush your puny civilization!
          • by Shakrai (717556) *

            The benevolent Americans demand that you give us Space Flight and Atomic Theory or else we will have to crush your puny civilization!

            I think the Japanese learned first hand [wikipedia.org] about atomic theory from the benevolent Americans ;)

            (Yes, I'm going straight to hell....)

            • by lukas84 (912874)

              I think the Japanese learned first hand [wikipedia.org] about atomic theory from the benevolent Americans ;)

              I just damn well hope that Wikipedia link isn't needed for anyone to get the joke.

              • by Shakrai (717556) *

                I just damn well hope that Wikipedia link isn't needed for anyone to get the joke.

                You'd be surprised ;)

      • by ianare (1132971) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @12:21PM (#24290553)
        more like genetic engineering or stealth ... if they need iron working I doubt they would have rocketry !!
        • by kellyb9 (954229) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @12:23PM (#24290595)
          Haha this is one of the things I love about Slashdot, no matter how obscure the thing your referencing is, there are always people around to tell you you're wrong.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by CodeBuster (516420)
            One funny thing I remember from Civ III was the fact that while the laser was a required civilization advance for the space ship, it was only needed to construct "the interplanetary party lounge". Apparently the "interplanetary party lounge" is an essential component of the space ship and it cannot launch either without it or without a laser for the disco smoke machine...
          • by gstoddart (321705)

            Haha this is one of the things I love about Slashdot, no matter how obscure the thing your referencing is, there are always people around to tell you you're wrong.

            Slashdot. (n) A place on the internet where pedantry, grammar nazis, and bickering over minor semantics reigns supreme.

            Cheers

    • by strelitsa (724743) *
      We're not doing anything important with Guam right now. Hell, throw in all the Marianas just to be a mensch.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Wiarumas (919682)
      Ironically enough, all they asked for was for Spike to take Most Extreme Elimination Challenge off the air.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by J05H (5625)

      it's called money. JAXA would get cold, hard cash in return for HTV (which still hasn't flown)

      These rumors of a NASA/JAXA deal have been discounted, which probably means they are true. Mike Griffin is trying to slay the various US commercial spaceflight providers by going offshore to another government agency.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by GrayNimic (1051532)

        it's called money. JAXA would get cold, hard cash in return for HTV (which still hasn't flown)

        Most NASA ISS deals are "No Exchange of Funds". It's all barters - you build it, I'll fly it; I'll maintain it, you give me some cargo room; I'll let you use it, you'll give me a crew member slot; etc. Some deals are using money (most notably some of the deals with Russia, and I think Italy (not ESA)), but the majority of them are barters.

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @11:45AM (#24290045)
    I bet the damn thing will be a hybrid that gets great fuel mileage, has an onboard dancing robot, and ends up outselling all the American rocket companies within 10 years.
  • Bad Idea (Score:5, Funny)

    by Illbay (700081) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @11:47AM (#24290077) Journal

    Every time a Japanese spacecraft gets involved, it ends up bringing back space-spores that grow unnoticed behind the repair shed and then turn into those stop-action monster-thingies that level whole cities.

    Unless we hire and train a Space Patrol [tesco.net] before the thing ever takes off, I think we should nix the whole idea.

    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by $RANDOMLUSER (804576)
      Strangely, though, the announcement referenced isn't on NASA's recent press releases [nasa.gov] page.
    • by sjonke (457707)

      It's actually half true. They *were* going to buy Japan's spacecraft, until they found out that it wouldn't include one of those nifty escape pod vending machines.

    • by rufey (683902)
      And here [livescience.com].
    • I suspect (Score:5, Interesting)

      by WindBourne (631190) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @12:10PM (#24290419) Journal
      that NASA is playing all sides at this time. EU and Russia have solutions, but both are trying to charge arm/leg. SpaceX is unknown as to whether it will be ready in time. I suspect that if this week's falcon fails, then NASA will cut deals quickly with all the above. But if it works, then they are going to feel better. The one issue is that NASA is feeling very threatened by SpaceX. Congress will have a difficult time seeing that constellation really is a different beast than the falcon9/dragon. Of course, if Spacex really does pursue the BFR, then it will be difficult to see any differences.
    • by Xtifr (1323)

      You must be kidding! Surely Slashdot's high-quality editorial and fact-checking department wouldn't have let a mistake of this magnitude through to hit the front page, would they?

    • by meringuoid (568297) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @01:00PM (#24291217)

      From my email yesterday:

      From: NASA News (hqnews@mediaservices.nasa.gov)
      Sent: Mon 7/21/08 4:00 PM
      To: NASA News (hqnews@mediaservices.nasa.gov)

      July 21, 2008

      John Yembrick
      Headquarters, Washington
      202-358-0602
      John.yembrick-1@nasa.gov

      RELEASE: 08-181

      STATEMENT ON INACCURATE REPORTS ABOUT JAPANESE CARGO SERVICES

      WASHINGTON -- Contrary to news reports, NASA has not officially or
      unofficially been discussing the purchase of H-II Transfer Vehicles
      (HTV) -- uninhabited resupply cargo ships for the space station --
      from the Japanese Space Agency, or JAXA.

      NASA is committed to domestic commercial cargo resupply to the space
      station and does not plan to procure cargo delivery services from
      Japan. As part of our original agreements as compensation for common
      system operating costs NASA has limited cargo capability on the
      Japanese and European cargo vehicles. NASA has recently issued a
      request for proposal for the cargo needs of International Space
      Station beyond those supplied by our current international
      agreements. NASA has chosen to depend on commercial resupply of cargo
      delivery to the station.

      -end-

      To subscribe to the list, send a message to:
      hqnews-subscribe@mediaservices.nasa.gov
      To remove your address from the list, send a message to:
      hqnews-unsubscribe@mediaservices.nasa.gov

    • FYI - when you go looking for news to post to prove something to the world, try skipping China's state-run propaganda machine as a source.

  • Denied by NASA (Score:3, Informative)

    by photonic (584757) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @11:59AM (#24290251)
    Apparently, NASA has already issued a statement [google.com] denying this rumor. I couldn't find a press release on NASA's own website, though.
  • That's odd. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Blice (1208832) <Lifes@Alrig.ht> on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @12:03PM (#24290321)
    Probably the more interesting thing to note here is that JAXA even *has* a spacecraft for something of that sort. They aren't really known for that, more so for their satellites. At any rate, NASA has a lot more resources for these kind of missions under their belt.

    You can see their current (and future planned) rockets [www.jaxa.jp] and spacecrafts [www.jaxa.jp] on their site. The spacecraft in question, H-II, was only announced recently in 2008, and I guess that's why I couldn't find any other similar ships on wiki, etc.

    And what happened to Russia? I thought they were a huge part of the ISS, and just recently the RSA received a lot more interest from their government if I recall correctly, so why aren't we poking sticks at them?
    • by kellyb9 (954229)

      Probably the more interesting thing to note here is that JAXA even *has* a spacecraft for something of that sort.

      I dount Sun would support JAVA spacecrafts anyway... not until they have it on the iPhone at least.

    • Re:That's odd. (Score:4, Informative)

      by meringuoid (568297) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @12:20PM (#24290541)
      And what happened to Russia? I thought they were a huge part of the ISS, and just recently the RSA received a lot more interest from their government if I recall correctly, so why aren't we poking sticks at them?

      Russia's Progress supply ships have been keeping the ISS running for years. When the Shuttle was grounded after Columbia, it was the Russians who kept the project alive.

      It was a close-run thing, though; the Shuttle's cargo capacity dwarfs Progress, and it was a major loss. Hence the development of independent cargo ships by ESA and Japan. These are much bigger than Soyuz, and also divide the labour three ways instead of relying on Russia alone to produce enough rockets.

      • Re:That's odd. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @08:29PM (#24297493) Homepage

        When the Shuttle was grounded after Columbia, it was the Russians who kept the project alive. It was a close-run thing, though; the Shuttle's cargo capacity dwarfs Progress, and it was a major loss. Hence the development of independent cargo ships by ESA and Japan.

        That's only 'mostly correct'. The ATV (ESA) and HTV (JAXA) cargo craft predate the loss of Columbia by years - they've been on the drawing boards since the early/mid 1990's. ATV was supposed to have first flown in, IIRC, 2003. HTV was supposed to first fly in 2001.
         

        These are much bigger than Soyuz, and also divide the labour three ways instead of relying on Russia alone to produce enough rockets.

        Again, only mostly correct. While ATV/HTV can carry far more cargo that Soyuz, they can't ferry passengers. For that matter, your average Mini Cooper [wikipedia.org] has a higher cargo capacity than Soyuz. (OK, I exaggerate. But not by much.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DerekLyons (302214)

      Probably the more interesting thing to note here is that JAXA even *has* a spacecraft for something of that sort.

      Well, only sorta. The HTV [wikipedia.org] is untested and so is the H-IIB [wikipedia.org] booster that will be used to place it in orbit.

      The spacecraft in question, H-II, was only announced recently in 2008

      The spacecraft in question (the HTV) has been on the drawing boards for well over a decade - originally scheduled to enter service in 2001, it has been much delayed by lack of funding by JAXA and ongoing problems wit

  • ...then it's bound to be shaped like a giant alien tentacle and that a partly-dressed cartoon schoolgirl will be involved somewhere in the "docking" sequence with the ISS.
  • Another industry offshores off to Asia.
  • Do Japanese make inferior engineers or something?
  • Uhm...think again... (Score:5, Informative)

    by mastallama (1330695) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @12:34PM (#24290763)
    Actually, NASA has said they're not going to use Japan. http://www.livescience.com/blogs/author/tariqmalik/ [livescience.com]
  • I don't have any insight to offer. I just think everything connected to the ISS is ultra cool.
  • Well, at least NASA started negotiating with Japan now, in 2008, as it often takes a year of unofficial negotiation before official negotiation occurs. How about an analogy?

    ******

    If NASA and Jaxa were two school chums and NASA wanted to borrow Jaxa's car for the weekend, Jaxa would have to consult with every person he's ever met in his life and all of their immediate relatives, carefully weighing the effects of loaning his car on each individual. After considering everyone's opinions, Jaxa would then RE
  • Bet the ISS astronauts would love a visit from those hot Japanese fairy twins... ;)

  • Kyle: Yes, yes, hello? Is this Mr. Su-gi-yama with the Japanese space program? [waits for the answer] How much to take a whale into space? [waits for the answer] Nu-no, we don't want you to eat the whale, we want you to send it to the moon. How much? Jesus Christ! Uh hang on. [puts Mr. Sugiyama on hold as he answers another call] Hello? Jimmy, any luck at the Chinese Embassy?

    Jimmy: [with Timmy and Tweek] The Ch-Chinese will take someone to space for t-t-ten million dollars.

    Kyle: Ten million?? W

  • We are very simple people. With very small rocket. We cannot achieve much with so small rocket. But you! Americans. Wow! Rocket so big! SOOO big rocket!

  • .. to make this as the new front for the Gundam project.

    We know that the Ministry of Agriculture already shown that they don't have the capacity to contain this issue.

    With NASA, at least they'll have a good alibi when asked about their reason to go into orbit so frequently.

  • NASA changes name to JASA

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