PR 37-2001. The European Space Agency (ESA) was honoured to learn that the International Space Station has been given the 2001 Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation. The Prince of Asturias Foundation announced its decision yesterday in Oviedo, Spain.
The award will be bestowed on four space agencies involved in the Space Station: NASA (US), Russia's Rosaviakosmos, Japan's National Space Development Agency (NASDA), and ESA representing the 10 European countries participating in the Space Station.
The Kingdom of Spain, an ESA member state, provides important technological contributions to the development and utilisation of the Space Station.
The Space Station is a research centre in space where, far above the constraints of the atmosphere and free from the disrupting effects of gravity, scientists and engineers can undertake new types of research and technological development. The Space Station will be the largest structure ever built in space. Its construction began in 1998 and crews of astronauts from various countries have been living and working on board since November 2000. The Spanish Centre for Space Law nominated the Space Station for the honour.
The Prince of Asturias Awards recognise and reward "scientific, technical, cultural, social and humanistic work performed by individuals, groups or institutions world-wide". The Award for International Cooperation is "bestowed upon the individual, work group or institution whose work has contributed in an exemplary and significant way to mutual understanding, progress and brotherhood among nations."
By selecting the International Space Station, the jury convened by the Foundation acknowledges "the efforts to achieve international cooperation that have been necessary to turn this enormous orbiting laboratory for scientific research for a greater understanding of our planet into a reality".
The award will be presented in the autumn at a ceremony in Oviedo, Spain, presided over by H.R.H. Don Felipe, the Prince of Asturias, Heir to the Spanish Crown, and the Foundation's Honorary President.
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