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. Fourteen Space Agencies Sign Joint Exploration Agreement

"During this century we are sure to see some fantastic voyages of discovery as robots and humans venture further into our Solar System. What they learn will excite and inspire new generations to get involved in science and create new technology that could benefit the whole economy" said British Science and Innovation Minister Malcolm Wicks.
by Staff Writers
London UK (SPX) Jun 04, 2007
In an unprecedented move, 14 of the world's leading space agencies revealed their agreed vision for globally co-ordinated space exploration to the Moon, Mars and beyond. Following months of intensive discussions, they published their common ideas for space exploration: The Global Exploration Strategy: The Framework for Co-ordination.

The document outlines the rationale for society to explore space, defines the current focus and process of space exploration, the current interest in returning to the Moon and exploring Mars, and proposes a framework for the future co-ordination of global space exploration.

Welcoming the publication of the document, Science and Innovation Minister Malcolm Wicks said:

"This document marks the start of a new era of space exploration. Since the launch of Sputnik in 1957, we have learnt much about how to explore space and have experienced the benefits of scientific discoveries in our everyday lives. Innovations such as exploiting space for global communications, weather forecasting and helping emergency services have all flowed from the first half-century of space exploration.

"During this century we are sure to see some fantastic voyages of discovery as robots and humans venture further into our Solar System. What they learn will excite and inspire new generations to get involved in science and create new technology that could benefit the whole economy.

"The Framework for Co-ordination sets out a common vision for a new era of international collaboration. I welcome the fact that the UK can use this to inform our national plans while joining together in a truly global endeavour. "

British National Space Centre - which co-ordinates UK civil space activities and represents the UK at the European Space Agency - was fully involved in shaping this document. Following its publication, it is expected that a voluntary, non-binding forum (the International Co-ordination Mechanism) will now be established so that all 14 nations can share their plans for space exploration, and collaborate to strengthen both individual projects and the collective effort.

This is an exciting time for UK space exploration:

* The UK was heavily involved in the recent and highly successful SMART-1 mission to the Moon;

* The UK is building cutting edge technology to survey the geochemistry of the Moon aboard the Indian Chandrayaan-1 mission which is due for blast off in 2008;

* It is also the second largest contributor to the European Space Agency's (ESA) Aurora space exploration programme;

* UK industry has recently started work on the BepiColombo mission to Mercury, a joint European/Japanese mission to be launched in 2013.

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Malaysian Astronauts Head To NASA For Training
Kuala Lumpur (AFP) May 20, 2007
Malaysia's first space travellers will head to NASA in the United States next month for further training after their current stint in Russia ends, news reports said Sunday. Science Minister Jamaluddin Jarjis said the two candidates will be with NASA in Texas for up to three weeks, as part of the Malaysian Astronaut Programme, according to the Star daily.

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