National Research and Development Agency
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
On April 10, 2017, Naoki Okumura, President of JAXA and Jean-Yves LE GALL, President of CNES, the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales made an Implementing Arrangement on MMX, Martian Moons Exploration. This Implementing Arrangement confers JAXA and CNES the platform for collaboration. In the Agreement, JAXA expects CNES to share technical expertise and to render assistance in the following three research topics for MMX reseach and development phase;
The Arrangement is based on the Inter-Agency Agreementbetween JAXA and CNES Concerning the Cooperation in the Field of Space Programmes, signed on October 5, 2015.
The signing ceremony of the MMX Implementing Arrangement was held in JAXA Tokyo Office in the presence of Masaaki Tanaka, Director-General of the Research and Development Bureau, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology（MEXT）and Paul-Bertrand Barets, Minister, Embassy of France in Japan.
JAXA President Naoki Okumura (right) and CNES President Jean-Yves LE GALL (left) shake hands after the signing ceremony.
CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall, president of France’s CNES space agency, and Naoki Okumura, president of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), have signed an agreement to prepare the MMX (Martian Moons Exploration) mission that is due to lift off in 2024.
The agreement was signed in Tokyo on 10th April in the presence of Jean-Pierre Bibring of the IAS space astrophysics institute and Saku Tsuneta of the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS).
MMX is a project to return samples from Phobos, one of Mars’ two moons with Deimos. The mission intends to probe the moons’ origins and thus gain new insights into how the solar system formed and evolved.
The agreement covers phase A of the project, to which CNES will be contributing feasibility studies prior to a formal go-ahead decision, which Japan is expected to make by the end of this year for a mission launch in 2024.
This new joint endeavour stems from the renewal in 2015 of the framework cooperation agreement between CNES and JAXA, signed in the presence of the French and Japanese Prime Ministers. It ties in with the 2013-2018 roadmap set out in 2013 during President François Hollande’s visit to Japan.