Updated Nov. 4, 2019 at 12:45 PST to include agreement between U.S. Department of Commerce and CNES.
by Douglas Messier
The world’s space agencies were busy signing agreements last month to advance lunar exploration and commercial space activities during the International Astronautical Conference in Washington, DC.
NASA signed agreements with the European Space Agency (ESA) and three national agencies in Europe focused on advancing America’s Artemis program, which aims to land astronauts on the moon in 2024.
The U.S. Department of Commerce and the French space agency CNES signed a declaration charting closer cooperation on space situational awareness.
The German Aerospace Center (DLR) signed agreements with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) , the Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA), and the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) to advance commercial space ventures.
The United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) announced opportunities to fly microgravity experiments in Earth orbit with Airbus and the Sierra Nevada Corporation.
Maxar Technologies and the Australian Space Agency signed an agreement to work together to advance that nation’s space industry.
Below are summaries of the agreements with links to the announcements where appropriate.
NASA — ESA
ESA and NASA issued a joint statement reaffirming their interest in working with commercial service providers as well as international partners on missions to the moon.
The statement supports the ‘Lunar Pathfinder’ mission, ESA’s first moon partnership with European industry. The ‘Lunar Pathfinder’ partnership helps lay the foundation for providing communications, navigation, and operations services around the moon.
NASA — LSA
NASA and LSA signed a joint statement of intent to explore different areas through technical and programmatic discussions with the objective of identifying opportunities for collaboration on the Artemis program and other joint initiatives. In parallel, the space agencies intend to pursue a framework agreement as a means of facilitating future collaboration.
The agencies also underlined the potential these initiatives have for space resources exploration and utilization as well as for private sector entities and public private partnerships.
NASA — Italian Space Agency (ASI)
NASA and ASI signed a joint statement that acknowledges the strong ongoing cooperation between the agencies and identifies areas of potential future cooperation on and around the Moon as part of the Artemis program.
The two agencies also acknowledged Italy’s industrial aerospace expertise and the potential it provides for U.S.-Italian industry-to-industry cooperation in support of the lunar program.
NASA — Polish Space Agency (POLSA)
NASA and POLSA issued a joint statement expressing the intent to discuss opportunities for cooperation, including sustainable activities around and on the moon in connection with the Artemis program.
U.S. Department of Commerce — CNES
The U.S. Department of Commerce and CNES signed a declaration that charts path forward for expanded cooperation on space situational awareness, space traffic management, cooperative research and development, and other important efforts driving the commercial development of space.
FAA — DLR
DLR and FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA AST) are seeking to identify the data that may need to be exchanged between United States and European Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) prior to, during and after a space launch or re-entry operation that is initiated in one country and traverses the airspace of another country.
DLR — SSC
DLR and SSC signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a new test stand for the next generation of sounding rockets, micro-launchers and reusable launchers at the Swedish Esrange Space Center.
Further topics of the cooperation will be the exchange of expertise and intensified collaboration in the field of engine and launcher stage testing.
DLR — LSA
DLR and LSA have signed a letter of intent to co-operate on space research activities with particular focus on areas such as navigation, satellite communications, space exploration and space resources, including robotics and in-orbit services.
LSA is interested in cooperating with DLR in establishing in Luxembourg an interdisciplinary research center within the SpaceResources.lu initiative aiming at developing a sustainable commercial space resources utilization industry.
UNOOSA — Airbus
UNOOSA and Airbus issued an announcement of opportunity for utilizing the Airbus Bartolomeo external platform on the International Space Station (ISS) for missions in the space environment.
The Bartolomeo mission is one of several research and orbital opportunities offered through UNOOSA’s “Access to Space for All” initiative, which aims to enable all countries, especially emerging space nations, to access and leverage the benefits of space.
UNOOSA and SNC announced the opening of a call for interest for UN member states to provide a landing site for the Dream Chaser on its return from a mission expected to occur around 2024.
UN member states will have the opportunity to apply to provide payloads or experiments to be accommodated on the mission, enabling them to fly in low-Earth orbit via the SNC’s Dream Chaser.
Australian Space Agency — Maxar Technologies
The Australian Space Agency has signed a statement of strategic Intent and cooperation with U.S.-based company Maxar Technologies to work together to develop the domestic space industry.
“The Australian Space Agency aims to triple the size of the Australian space industry to $12 billion and create 20,000 new jobs by 2030,” said Anthony Murfett, deputy head of the Australian Space Agency. “Signings with companies such as Maxar will continue to develop the local space economy, and benefit Australians through space technologies.”