Space agencies continue coordination of exploration plans

14 July 2008

Representatives of 11 space agencies from around the world gathered in Montréal, Canada, 10-12 July to continue the coordination of programmes to extend human and robotic presence throughout the Solar System.

In May 2007, multilateral space agency discussions resulted in the release of ‘The Global Exploration Strategy – The Framework for Coordination.’ This ‘framework document’ – the product of a shared vision of space exploration focused on solar system destinations where humans may someday live and work – represented an important first step in coordinating space exploration efforts toward common goals. The Framework Document envisioned a coordination mechanism to facilitate international planning, leading to the establishment of the International Space Exploration Coordination Group (ISECG).

During the Montréal ISECG meeting, hosted by the Canadian Space Agency, the participating agencies made significant progress in a number of areas that will facilitate cooperation. Among accomplishments were the establishment of an ISECG secretariat, that will be initially hosted by ESA, plans for conducting effective public engagement, and development of tools for sharing information on exploration capabilities and mission plans across agencies.

The participants also took steps toward identification of critical space infrastructure interfaces - such as between spacecraft, lunar rovers and lunar habitats - which, if standardised, would increase opportunities for international cooperation. The participating agencies also reaffirmed the importance of maintaining an open dialogue as the space exploration architecture plans of individual agencies continues to progress. The group set the next ISECG meeting for March 2009 in Japan.

Attending the Montréal meeting were representatives from Australia, Canada, ESA, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the United States.

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