Space Agencies Meet in Japan to Plan Out Joint Space Exploration Efforts

Report of the 3rd Meeting of
International Space Exploration Coordination Group (ISECG)

Yokohama, Japan, March 10-12, 2009

Representatives of ten space agencies from around the world met under the banner of the International Space Exploration Coordination Group (ISECG)1. They adopted for further study three scenarios for conducting internationally coordinated robotic and human exploration activities on the Moon.

This was one of several results arising from a meeting held on March 10-12, 2009, in Yokohama, Japan. The meeting, which was chaired by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), focused on progress to date of various ongoing ISECG activities intended to foster cooperation in the exploration of locations in the Solar System where humans may someday live and work in the spirit of the Global Exploration Strategy (GES)2.

The three scenarios include both short duration and extended stay missions to any lunar location, and longer duration missions for up to six months at a polar location on the Moon. The scenarios cover the development and placement of infrastructure systems in space and on the surface of the Moon.

The ISECG also discussed critical system interfaces, which, if standardized, would increase the interoperability and the long-term sustainability of the collective exploration effort. The meeting participants expect that these scenarios will ensure achievement of the broadest range of co-operative lunar exploration objectives, while accomplishing their individual objectives. They expressed interest in building upon these scenarios to define an international reference architecture.

The meeting participants also made significant progress in a number of other areas. These include means of achieving the GES Objectives through cooperation, the development of tools for sharing information on exploration capabilities and mission plans across agencies. Relationships with existing international working groups, and plans for conducting effective public engagement were discussed. The ISECG issued both its 2008 annual report that describes world-wide exploration activities and a summary of the three scenarios.

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  1. In alphabetical order: ASI (Italy), BNSC (United Kingdom), CNES (France), CNSA (China), CSA (Canada), CSIRO (Australia), DLR (Germany), ESA (European Space Agency), JAXA (Japan), KARI (Republic of Korea), NASA (United States of America), NSAU (Ukraine), Roscosmos (Russia). *Agencies underlined were absent.
  2. The Global Exploration Strategy: The Framework for Coordination (Framework document) was released on May 31, 2007 based upon the common interest of fourteen international space agencies to create a shared framework for space exploration to “enhance mutual understanding among partners and to identify areas for potential cooperation. To work collectively towards the further development and implementation of the global exploration strategy set out in the Framework document, the International Space Exploration Coordination Group (ISECG) was established in Berlin, Germany on November 6th, 2007.