The agreement, signed by NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and Japanese Space Minister Masahito Moriyama, provides for two types of assistance from Japan. First, they will provide a pressurized lunar rover called the Lunar Cruiser. This extended-range vehicle will outperform American lunar rovers and support astronaut missions that are beyond their reach. NASA will deliver the Lunar Cruiser before the Artemis 7 mission (no earlier than 2031).

Second, Japan will have two coveted spots on future Artemis moon missions. This is a monumental achievement that will enable the Japanese space agency to become the first institution other than NASA to enable astronauts to walk on the Moon.

Although the exact timing is unknown, at least one Japanese astronaut is expected to fly before the lunar cruiser arrives, possibly as early as the Artemis 4 project (late 2020s). The final decision depends on several factors, including the rover’s progress and the overall stages of the program.

Source: Ferra

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