Strengthening the strategic partnership with Japan
The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) opened its new office in Tokyo on 27 February 2013. In so doing, DLR is pursuing its objective of developing a strategic partnership with Japan. The duties of this office are to establish, foster and further develop research and technology collaboration across the full spectrum of DLR activities. DLR’s work in Japan and other partner countries in the region, such as China, South Korea and Indonesia will be represented locally and expanded.
"Germany and Japan are high-tech nations with very high levels of expertise in engineering and science," said Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Chairman of the DLR Executive Board, at the inauguration of the new office. "DLR and Japan are already jointly involved in about 40 research projects. That makes Japan, alongside the United States, a very important partner country for DLR. With our representative office in Tokyo, we want to build a strategic partnership with Japan and intensify our cooperation across Eastern Asia. This is not only intended to strengthen scientific and technological cooperation between our countries, but also aims to help both sides gain a better cultural understanding of one another," continued Wörner.
The new office will represent DLR's interests to political, scientific and industrial institutions in Japan and other partner countries in the region. It will support local cooperation projects and will analyse developments in politics, research and technology in Eastern Asia.
"Germany and Japan are linked by many topics of the future. These include new sustainable energy sources, the environmental and economic development of transport, and innovative applications in the aerospace sector. That is why the intensive exchange of personnel between research and development teams is particularly important," said Niklas Reinke, who will be in charge of the new office.
MASCOT – an example of successful cooperation
After the United States, Japan is DLR's most important non-European cooperation partner. At this time, DLR and the Japanese space agency, JAXA, are involved in 25 cooperation agreements. In the space sector this includes the Hayabusa 2 asteroid mission. For this project, DLR is developing the MASCOT asteroid lander that is scheduled to fly to 1999 JU3 in 2014 on board a Japanese spacecraft, where it will take measurements on the asteroid's surface. Also in progress are collaborative research and development projects in the field of Earth observation, such as the GOSAT satellite mission. Joint projects such as research under space conditions, natural disaster and major incident management, propulsion systems using liquefied natural gas and optical laser communication are progressing and their scope is being enlarged.
For the last 10 years or so, regular cooperation talks relating to the aviation sector have been held between JAXA and DLR. Focal points of these talks are computational fluid dynamics, global navigation satellite systems, turbulence effects, scramjet technologies and combustion processes. Long-standing collaborative ties also link DLR with the University of Tohoku in the fields of Temperature Sensitive Paint (TSP) and Pressure Sensitive Paint (PSP), processes for measuring temperature and air pressure while in flight through the use of sensitive paint coatings.
Japan possesses a significant level of research expertise in batteries and transport. Here, there is scope for cooperation with the DLR research fields of energy and transport.
JAXA, as well as the University of Tohoku – outside Germany, DLR's largest university partners – and seven other Japanese universities and research institutes are very interested in further expanding their relationship with DLR. This new strategic partnership will help to link mutual research interests and to make efficient use of the test facilities in both countries. In this way, more ‘Knowledge for Tomorrow’ will emerge from international cooperation.
The DLR office in Tokyo will be housed in the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan, next to the German Research and Innovation Forum (Deutsche Wissenschafts- und Innovationshaus). With its other offices in Brussels, Paris, and Washington D.C., DLR will now have four representative offices outside Germany.