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Monday, 21st July 2008
In General Japan News,

Nasa 'could buy' Japanese spacecraft

The Nasa space agency has reportedly begun official talks about buying units of an unmanned Japanese spacecraft.

If the deal goes ahead, it would be the biggest of its kind in the 50-year history of Japan's space development programme, reports Reuters.

The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa), along with domestic firms such as Mitsubishi, Heavy Industries Ltd and Mitsubishi Electric Corp, is developing the H-2 Transfer Vehicle at a cost of around 14 billion yen (£65 million).

Nasa is concerned that when its space shuttles are retired in two years time, it may jeopardise their ability to deliver water, food and other materials for scientific experiments to the International Space Station.

Nasa began a project in April to help American companies develop a spacecraft to take the place of its space shuttle, although there are fears that it will not be developed in time.

Jaxa came into being in 2003 following the merger of the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, the National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan and the National Space Development Agency of Japan.