2020.12.16 Wed

JAXA and NOAA signed Memorandum of Understanding for Global Observing Satellite Missions

On Friday, December 11, 2020, Mr. Terada Koji, Vice President of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and Dr. Stephen Volz, Assistant Administrator for Satellite and Information Services of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), signed the Memorandum of Understanding regarding the Cooperation For Global Observing Satellite Missions.

Considering international cooperation on Earth observation satellites, many people think of cooperation in satellite data utilization and research. Today, international cooperation on Earth observation satellites has expanded to joint satellite development with overseas space agencies, direct data transmission from a satellite to ground stations in every corner of the world and data processing and distribution to global and regional end-users.

One of the purposes of this new MOU is to extend the current cooperative activity into the future with the new generation Global Observing SATellite for Greenhouse gases and Water cycle (GOSAT-GW) (scheduled to be launched in JFY2023- April 1, 2023-March 31, 2024). Based on the MOU, JAXA will continue to transmit the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 3 (AMSR3) data from the GOSAT-GW satellite to NOAA’s ground receiving sites in the Arctic Circle and the United States. NOAA transfers their received data to Japan based on JAXA’s request. This cooperative activity started in 2012 with the Global Change Observation Mission – Water “SHIZUKU” satellite (GCOM-W) which carries the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 (AMSR2). The MOU also covers several different activities such as the provision of NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) data to JAXA for mutual data calibration and verification.

JAXA’s Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR) data are used to improve the accuracy of hurricane forecasts and to enhance capability to monitor climate change such as sea surface temperature and polar sea ice extent. The data also provide all-weather sea surface temperature and soil moisture information. With the signing of this new MOU, the successful partnership between JAXA and NOAA will be in place for nearly 20 years.

At the online signing ceremony, Dr. Stephen Volz said, “AMSR series is an excellent example of JAXA’s technical expertise and Earth Observation capability, AMSR series data are critical for global weather forecasting by NOAA and by weather centers worldwide. We appreciate JAXA’s efforts to continue the availability of these vital data. The long-term availability of the data are also valuable for climate monitoring. NOAA certainly has benefitted from the relationship with JAXA in the past and looks forward to continuing the partnership for the GOSAT-GW satellite in the future. Mr. Terada replied, “I would like to thank NOAA and the US community for supporting the AMSR mission, and JAXA welcomes continuous cooperation for GOSAT-GW.”

In the field of Earth observation, JAXA will continue to explore the possibility for efficient and coordinated monitoring of the global environment in cooperation with international partners in all phases such as satellite development, operation and utilization.