Europe and US agree on civil space transportation cooperation

ISS - symbol of international collaborative human and technical endeavour
14 September 2009

ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Friday 11 September for cooperation in the field of space transportation.

The agreement was signed at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "From Shuttle Spacelab missions to the International Space Station, ESA has a long history of participating with NASA in human spaceflight," said Bolden. "With this agreement, it is our intent to continue to build this relationship, sharing valuable engineering analyses and technology concepts that will help transport humans to low Earth orbit and beyond."

Ariane 5 enclosing Herschel and Planck
Ariane 5 will provide valuable concepts for future systems

The agreement will allow ESA and NASA to exchange technical information and personnel, which will aid the eventual development of new transportation systems. It is expected that ESA's Ariane 5 development and flight experience will provide valuable engineering analyses and technology concepts for NASA's new launch and spacecraft systems.

"The Memorandum of Understanding marks a new milestone in the already very strong and long-lasting cooperation between ESA and NASA," said ESA's Dordain. "The exchange of technical information this document allows in the fields of space transportation will be beneficial to both agencies and will facilitate our work toward future launch systems, human spaceflight and exploration missions."

The exchanges of information will provide NASA with assistance in a number of areas, including: composite material technology; development of payload shrouds; and management of propellants in spacecraft propulsion systems used for transit to and from lunar orbit.

For more information please contact:

Franco Bonacina
ESA Spokesman and Head of Media Relations Office
Communication and Knowledge Department
Phone + 33 1 5369 7299
Fax: + 33 1 5369 7690
Queries: media @

Michael Braukus
Public Affairs Officer
NASA Headquarters
Washington, DC 20546
Phone: 202.358.1979
Cell: 202.669.1886
Fax: 202.358.4210

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