UK Space Agency Signs Deals With NASA, Roscosmos

The newly created UK Space Agency signed agreements with NASA and the Russian space agency Roskosmos to facilitate join cooperation across a range of areas.

The NASA agreement “identify new cooperative activities related to Earth and space science, life sciences, and space exploration, in addition to other areas of mutual interest.”

“The UK and the US have a long history of collaboration in space activities and we want to ensure that this relationship keeps going from strength to strength and continues to produce international, world class science and exploration,” said Dr. David Williams, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency.

The Roscosmos deal puts an emphasis on commercial space activities, with plans to build upon cooperative activities done over the last 20 years by Surrey Satellite Technology Limited and Commercial Space Technologies Ltd.

“The Memorandum of Understanding clearly indicates the willingness of both Russia and the UK to establish an effective mechanism for mutually beneficial cooperation,” Deputy Head of Roscosmos Mr. Vitaly Davydov said. “Though specific collaborative projects are yet to be defined, we believe that there will be a whole number of joint projects in the nearest future that will be aimed primarily at the application of space technologies in the interests of social and economic development of Russia, UK and Europe in general.”

David Williams, Acting Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, will chair the ESA Council for the next year, effective from 1 July.

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NASA Agreement

The Minister of State for Universities and Science David Willetts has today (Wednesday 21st July) announced that the UK Space Agency and NASA have agreed a statement of intent for potential cooperation in civil space activities.

The statement, signed yesterday, at a meeting in London, by the Minister and the NASA Administrator, Charles F. Bolden Jr, confirms the mutual desire of the two agencies to identify new cooperative activities related to Earth and space science, life sciences, and space exploration, in addition to other areas of mutual interest.

Dr David Williams, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said, “The UK and the US have a long history of collaboration in space activities and we want to ensure that this relationship keeps going from strength to strength and continues to produce international, world class science and exploration.”

NASA Administrator, Charles F. Bolden Jr, added, “NASA has a long history of successful cooperation with the United Kingdom and looks forward to enhanced cooperation through the new UK Space Agency in a variety of areas of mutual interest.”

Cooperation on Earth science, including the utilization of ground-based networks, airborne missions and space-based technology, can contribute to a better understanding of the Earth system, its changing global dynamics, and the impact of human activity on the environment. Earth science applications, in particular, hold the promise of concrete societal benefits.

Likewise, closer cooperation in space science and space exploration could greatly improve scientific knowledge of the universe, and boost innovation and technology development. Cooperation between NASA and the UK Space Agency should expand scientific exchanges between U.S. and UK scientists and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Roscosmos Agreement

Today (Wednesday 21 July 2010), the UK has concluded an historic agreement with Russia leading the way to greater collaboration in space between the two nations.

In signing the agreement, UK Space Agency’s Chief Executive, Dr David Williams said it marked a new stage in cooperation between the UK and Russia in civil space activity. “Space provides governments with the possibility to improve lives across their communities, along with offering novel commercial opportunities,” said Dr Williams. “It is a truly global activity and one where it is right that we should work together”.

The Memorandum of Understanding between the UK Space Agency and the Russian Federal Space Bureau was concluded at the Farnborough Airshow on July 21st. Head of the Russian Federal Space Agency Anatoly N. Perminov signed for Russia.

In his message delivered to the UK counterparts Mr. Perminov pointed out that the Memorandum of Understanding highlights the new step in relations between the UK Space Agency and Roscosmos. “To explore and benefit from space at most we need to cooperate with each other”, noted Anatoly N. Perminov. “And that is the very essence of our agreement. I’m sure that the future of space exploration can be guaranteed only by international cooperation”.

The Secretary of State – Deputy Head of Roscosmos Mr. Vitaly Davydov added: “The Memorandum of Understanding clearly indicates the willingness of both Russia and the UK to establish an effective mechanism for mutually beneficial cooperation. Though specific collaborative projects are yet to be defined, we believe that there will be a whole number of joint projects in the nearest future that will be aimed primarily at the application of space technologies in the interests of social and economic development of Russia, UK and Europe in general”.

Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) has had a long and successful collaboration with a variety of Russian organisations spanning 20 years, working with the UK and Moscow offices of Commercial Space Technologies (CST Ltd.) as representative and local partner. SSTL and CST have together been one of the major customers for Russian launch services.

Professor Sir Martin Sweeting OBE, Executive Chairman of SSTL, commented “We have built up a close relationship with our colleagues at CST and the Russian Space Agency over the last 20 years, successfully launching 21 satellites on-board Russian rockets over 11 launch campaigns. SSTL was the first customer and partner for the DNEPR launch vehicle, allowing Kosmotras to compete in the international market for launch services using this launcher and also the first customer for SSO services from Plesetsk on Cosmos LV. SSTL is extending this relationship into the future through significant participation in the Kanopus high resolution Earth Observation constellation with our partner FSUE NPP VNIIEM [1]and the launch of three further satellites from Russia later this year. I hope that the signing of this MOU between UK Space Agency and the Russian Federal Space Agency will bring further commercial benefits to the space activities and space industries of both countries.”

SSTL has teamed up with UK and Moscow offices of Commercial Space Technologies (CST Ltd.) as representative and local partner since early 1990s.