US space agency Nasa and the Japanese Government have concluded an agreement for the agency’s lunar Gateway as part of the Artemis programme.

Under the agreement, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) will provide various capabilities for the Gateway, including the International Habitation module’s (I-Hab) environmental control and life support system, batteries, thermal control, and imagery components.

These components are crucial for the operation of during crewed and uncrewed time periods. They will also be integrated into the module by the European Space Agency (ESA) prior to launch.

Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine said: “We’re honoured to announce this latest agreement with Japan to support long-term human exploration on and around the Moon as part of the Artemis program.

“Strengthening our international partnerships and commitments to Artemis puts humanity on a solid path to achieve our common goals of sustainable lunar exploration by the end of this decade.”

One-sixth the size of the International Space Station, the Gateway is an orbiting outpost to be built jointly by commercial and international partners.

Japan will also be responsible to supply batteries for the Gateway’s Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO), the initial crew cabin for astronauts visiting the Gateway.

The agreement is in line with Nasa’s strategy to provide crew opportunities for Japanese astronauts to the Gateway and US’ broader effort to engage international partners.

Nasa Headquarters human exploration and operations mission directorate associate administrator Kathy Lueders said: “Leveraging the capabilities that international partners contribute to Gateway will be key to enabling access to the lunar surface. We are pleased to move forward in these groundbreaking efforts with Japan and our other partners.”