Heads of agencies. Image courtesy of ISRO.

From 14 to 17 November 2017, the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF) held its 24th annual conference for Asian space agencies and industry. This year, the forum was held in Bengaluru, India, and was co-hosted by India’ Department of Space and its space agency ISRO, as well as Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (MEXT) and space agency JAXA.

This year’s theme was “Space Technology for Enhanced Governance and Development”, and was attended by the Heads of Agencies of India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Russia, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam, and International Astronautical Federation (IAF) President Jean-Yves Le Gall.

During the conference, the various APAC space agencies agreed to collaborate on small satellites and CubeSats to help solve problems within the region, and promote space applications such as rice monitoring, haze monitoring and disaster management. India also shared its experiencing of using space technology to solve problems on Earth, demonstrating how space can expedite decision-making.

Other topics discussed included space exploration, where India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the UAE discussed the building of deep space gateways and missions to the Moon and Mars. ISRO and JAXA also raised the possibility of conducting a joint Moon mission.

During the conference, various MoUs were signed, including one between JAXA and the Singapore Space Technology Association (SSTA), and a cooperation agreement between JAXA and the Vietnam National Space Center (VNSC) for public education and awareness.

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