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Key meeting on long-term space exploration

Published by Rob on Wed May 30, 2007 2:45 pm
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Fourteen space organisations from all over the world will gather in Italy to discuss further coordination for long-term space exploration efforts.

From 30 May until 1 June, the 3rd joint ESA / ASI workshop on international cooperation for sustainable space exploration will bring together representatives from 14 space organisations worldwide. The workshop, the third of a series started in 2005, will take place at the XI century Abbey of Spineto in the vicinity of Sarteano (Siena).
Space exploration is a top priority for many space agencies around the world and many other space organisations are interested by the growing number of cooperation opportunities. ESA and ASI have therefore decided to jointly organise a series of regular meetings with the aim of contributing to the discussion on cooperation, and providing an opportunity for exchange of information and coordination.

One first tangible outcome of this collective effort by the many space organisations from Europe, North America, Asia and Australia, is a document laying down the common vision of the space exploration leaders. ‘The Global Exploration Strategy: the Framework for Coordination’, which is the title of this collective paper, will be extensively addressed at the Workshop’s opening session, and will form the basis for the ensuing discussions that will focus on the implementation of a coordination mechanism.

Europe’s Aurora Exploration Programme, the US Vision for Space Exploration, Japan’s plans for future exploration activities, as well as ambitious automatic missions being prepared by nations like Russia, India and China, offer numerous opportunities for scientific and technological cooperation. The very nature of space exploration with its long-term goals and political and technological challenges call for a more structured international cooperation approach.

In this very dynamic context, the workshop convenors, Mrs. Simona Di Pippo, ASI Director of the Universe Observation Programme, and Mr. Daniel Sacotte, ESA Director of Human Spaceflight, Microgravity and Exploration Programmes, will welcome a number of space Agency leaders, including Mr Sun Laiyan, Head of the Chinese National Space Administration, and ASI’s President, Prof. Giovanni F. Bignami.

Today’s opening session, between 09:00 and 13:00, will feature space leaders’ keynote address, a presentation of the Global Exploration Strategy document, as well as interventions from space exploration programmes leaders from several space agencies.

The Global Exploration Strategy framework document identifies a common set of exploration themes and values that are common to several possible exploration targets and destinations in our Solar System, including the Moon and Mars.

These themes include increasing our scientific and technical knowledge; expanding human presence in space; exploring global partnership and economic benefits; and finally promoting the inspirational and educational value of space exploration activities.

The space agencies’ representatives who produced the document share the view that it is only through sustainable international cooperation that the enormous challenges of human exploration of the Moon and Mars can be overcome.

The complete document will be available upon request as of 31 May. It will also be published at http://www.globalspaceexploration.org

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