November.26.2022 KIP November Forum "The U.S. – Japan bilateral relationship in Space: The most important in the world"

Mr. Garvey McIntosh

【Speech and Q&A】

At November’s forum, Mr. Garvey McIntosh, who is NASA Asia representative, presented us with a speech. The speech began with the introduction regarding the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, including NASA’s four major research areas, the relationship between NASA and the US government, NASA’s research centers, the International Relation Office and the expected future cooperation with Japan and other countries. Then, there was detailed introduction from the basic science needed for space exploration and the missions of robots before actually sending humans to space, to the history of sending humans to the moon that took place in the second half of the 20th century, regarding the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union. Next, there was the part about the International Space Station (ISS). The construction of the International Space Station, which is extremely large and difficult, was completed by the cooperation of six countries. In recent years, NASA is considering to cooperate not only with governments, but also commercial companies. Mr. McIntosh also talked about topics like SpaceX, the astronauts who went to the ISS, the languages used in the US vehicle and the Russian vehicle. Finally, there was introduction about NASA’s next program, which is Artemis, a program for deeper space exploration. Mr. McIntosh also talked about topics like the diversity of the astronauts, Artemis 1, 2, 3, the Human Landing System (HLS).
During the Q&A session, there were discussions about topics like the influence of US’s politics and the world’s politics to NASA and ISS, the possibilities of the cooperation between Japan and other nations, future energy like nuclear energy, the reasons for not using ISS as an important station in the future, SpaceX, considerations on security, the cooperations with commercial companies, the water on Mars, etc.

【Group discussion and Ground discussion】

The discussion topic is “Should Japan keep trying to develop its own large-scale, domestically developed and built rocket?”. It is specially noted that Japan already owns a rocket and that it’s extremely expensive if continuing the development of the large-scale rocket.
There were six groups in the discussion. The pros and cons to the topic was half and half.
From the groups which were pro, considering things like Japanese international status, Japanese economy and employment, future human welfare, technology development and the necessity to maintain technology for wars, Japan should keep the development on its own large-scale, domestically developed and built rocket. Else, there were also opinions suggesting the partnership between government and commercial companies on the development of rocket.
From the groups which were con, it’s difficult for Japan to continue developing its own large-scale, domestically developed and built rocket due to the consideration on the enormous cost of money and resources. What’s more, there were also opinions showing that the development of rocket is unnecessary since Japan already possesses its own rocket and the partnership with other nations in space exploration is considered to be stable.
Then, the discussion continued with topics like the feasibility of rocket development considering the high price and the enormous energy consumption, the comparation between the cost and the merits of the rocket development, etc. It’s also noted that we should not only think about public organizations like the government but also take private organizations like commercial enterprises into consideration.

【Personal Opinion】

After listening the part about the history of space exploration in Mr. McIntosh’s speech, I came to realize the high difficulty and the considerable meaning to human beings of people’s various attempts for space exploration. For example, sending humans to space, the establishment of ISS. Else, I was impressed that human beings’ accomplishments on space exploration appears to be negligible when comparing with the infinite universe. I also felt the charm of the mysteries of the secrets concealed under the dark veil of the universe.
Space exploration not only has considerable costs in many aspects, but also is expected to have great benefits that are hard to predict for human beings. There’re various discussions on the topic of the details in future space exploration plans and the specific influence of space exploration to future human welfares is hard to determine, but it’s widely acknowledged that people are likely to continue the attempts on space exploration.

Li Mingyi, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Engineering, 3rd year (Undergraduate 3rd year)