14 space agencies

Hot news from the international government space sector: the lastest release out of the global exploration strategy discussions between NASA and 13 of the world's space agencies -- CSIRO (Australia), CSA (Canada), CNSA (China), ESA (European Space Agency), CNES (France), DLR (Germany), ASI (Italy), ISRO (India), JAXA (Japan), KARI (Republic of Korea), RKA (Russia), NSAU (Ukraine), BNSC (United Kingdom) -- it's the Global Exploration Strategy: The Framework for Coordination.

This non-binding Framework (released at the 3rd ASI/ESA International Co-operation for Sustainable Space Exploration Workshop which met this week in Sarteano, Italy) is not a treaty, and "does not propose a single global programme."

And as
NASA specifies, "its contents are consistent with ongoing bilateral and multilateral discussions that NASA intends to lead to cooperative agreements for specific projects."

The Framework, "presents a vision for robotic and human space exploration, focussing on destinations within the solar system where we may one day live and work. It elaborates an action plan to share the strategies and efforts of individual nations so that all can achieve their exploration goals more effectively and safely."

And it "allows for the establishment of a voluntary, non-binding mechanism by which space agencies can exchange information on their respective space exploration plans. This coordination mechanism will play a key role in helping to identify gaps, overlaps and synergies in the space exploration plans of participating agencies."

The space agencies "have agreed to pursue the establishment of a formal Coordination Mechanism for the coordination of the Global Exploration Strategy. The specific terms of reference for such a mechanism are being defined and will be described in a separate document."

As to international space law, the Framework lists this as one of the "potential areas and activities that could benefit from coordination": "an assessment of the requirement for any relevant international legal agreements." This should be interesting.

Also, under the "Theme 3: Economic Expansion," the Framework states, "For business to be confident about investing, it needs the certainty of a long-term commitment to space exploration, the opportunity to introduce its ideas into government thinking, and the rule of law. This means common understanding on such difficult issues as property rights and technology transfer. The Coordination Mechanism foreseen as part of the Global Exploration Strategy will provide a forum to discuss these important issues." We'll certainly keep on eye on this.

By the way, if you are just tuning in, for background on the Global Exploration Strategy, review NASA's
FAQ, and visit the main exploration site.

While many (and I'll quote
Clark here) "strongly disagree with the hardware architecture that Griffin has chosen for initiating NASA's implementation of this strategy," there's definitely stuff here to interest space enthusiasts and global space business.

And yes, of course we have more than 14
space agencies in the world. (Actually, disregard that old SLP link, here is a newer and better list of the space agencies.)

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