February 29, 2016

DLR is expanding cooperation with Japan and South Korea

A DLR delegation led by Pascale Ehrenfreund visited South Korea and Japan from 21 to 27 February. The delegation cultivated and expanded the close cooperation with partner organisations. Two important partnership agreements were signed during the visits.

DLR ground station receives Korean satellite data

On 23 February, DLR and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) signed an ‘Implementing Arrangement'. Under this agreement, KARI can use the DLR ground station in Neustrelitz to receive Korean satellite data. The agreement creates the contractual basis for a strengthened partnership in the operation of and reception of data from the growing fleet of Korean Earth observation satellites, and for increased scientific exchange. In the process, DLR will support the Korean space agency KARI with the ground station’s antennas and DLR’s expertise. The scientific exploitation of the Korean satellite data is also part of the agreement.

The agreement was signed by Pascale Ehrenfreund, Chair of the DLR Executive Board, and Cho Gwang Rae, President of KARI. Additional future areas of cooperation between DLR and KARI were also discussed in the course of bilateral exchanges. For example, DLR was invited to participate in the planned lunar exploration activities with scientific contributions.

Cooperation with Korean partners was also further established during visits to the Agency for Defense Development (ADD) and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST).

Close cooperation with ADD has been in place since 2012, specifically in the fields of aerospace and materials research. The contractual basis for cooperation was reworked and expanded before the trip to make it possible to increase cooperation between the two institutions with the involvement of national industries. Pascale Ehrenfreund and Inho Kim, President of ADD, praised the existing cooperation and emphasised the mutual interest in striving to deepen cooperation in additional areas. To this end, ADD submitted two proposals to the delegation for possible fields of cooperation.

Pascale Ehrenfreund also took advantage of this opportunity to get a better insight into KAIST and the Satellite Technology Research Center (SaTReC), where she explored the options for expanding collaboration in discussions with Kang Sung-mo, the President of KAIST.

Partnership agreement with Japan

Following the successful negotiations in Korea, the DLR delegation continued on to Tokyo, Japan. At the present time, DLR institutes are cooperating with 18 scientific institutions and universities in Japan in the context of more than 30 projects in aeronautics and space research. These include, for example, projects in the fields of Earth observation and planetary research, but also space robotics, aviation and atmospheric research. The first point on the programme was a visit to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) regarding spaceflight, aeronautics and energy. At another meeting with Masaaki Tanaka, the General Director for Research and Development at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), the discussion involved the close cooperation between JAXA and DLR in the fields of aeronautics and space.

The main focus of the visit was the far-reaching exchange with the JAXA - GLOBAL, JAXA. A strategic partnership agreement between JAXA and DLR was signed on Thursday, 25 February 2016. This agreement will add a new dimension to the previously successful cooperation between JAXA and DLR. This partnership is devoted to achieving strategic goals, such as the development and use of aeronautic and space technologies that contribute to solving global societal challenges. The foundation for scientific excellence in research will be expanded, guaranteeing enhancement of the competitiveness of both countries.

The basis for cooperation is an intensive dialogue. To that end, JAXA and DLR have formed joint working groups in the six areas of Earth observation, ISS, launch systems, space technology and space research and exploration, as well as the promotion of industrial cooperation (including technology transfer). The working groups are the backbone of the collaboration, with the aim of identifying synergies.

The fitting setting for signing the agreement was the atrium of the German Embassy in Tokyo. In his speech, Stephan Grabherr, the Deputy German Ambassador, emphasised the very good relationship between the two countries and the large potential for synergy in the cooperation.

The next strategic dialogue between DLR and JAXA is planned for the autumn of 2016 and will be held in Germany, where the intensive exchanges of information will continue and additional cooperation projects will be selected.