Japan begins recruiting new astronauts

Japan plans to send its citizen to Moon in latter half of 2020s.

ISTANBUL (AA) – Japan on Monday announced a recruitment campaign for astronauts as it aims to send a mission to the Moon in the latter half of 2020s.

For the first time in 13 years, the Japan Space Agency (JAXA) announced recruitment for the coveted post which will likely conclude by 2023.

“We are looking for people who can contribute to the development of aerospace research and development from various fields, not limited to the experience of the aerospace industry,” a JAXA statement said.

Last October, Japan’s former Education and Science Minister Koichi Hagiuda had said the aim is to have a Japanese national on the Moon for the first time.

The country has seven astronauts as part of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAEA) and three of them have already traveled to outer space.

The selected group of astronauts could be part of a US-led lunar exploration project.

“We will solicit applications around every five years from now on to maintain a group of astronauts [in readiness],” Koichi had said.

At least 963 people have applied for the position so far.

The US is aiming to send humans to the Moon by 2024, under its Artemis program, for the first time since NASA’s 1972 Apollo 17 mission.


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