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Americans, Brits, Move Toward Cooperating On Moon Exploration

By | April 23, 2007

      NASA may cooperate with its U.K. counterpart, the British National Space Centre, in moon exploration activities that could include contribution of hardware for lunar missions, leaders of the agencies explained in a joint statement of intent.

      It was signed last week by Michael Griffin, NASA administrator, and Sir Keith O’Nions, director general for science and innovation with the U.K. Department of Trade and Industry.

      The two space agencies “desire to continue technical discussions on potential cooperative lunar exploration activities,” the statement explained.

      Potential areas of cooperation include space-based remote sensing, satellite communication and navigation systems, planetary exploration, moon rovers, small satellites and related technologies.

      Those areas of expertise may be “extremely valuable for future lunar exploration,” the statement said. Staffers in the two agencies already have held exploratory discussions on lunar cooperation.

      Cooperation could range from exchange of information on research and development to contribution of hardware for lunar missions, the statement continued, calling for formation of a binational technical team from the two space agencies.

      “The composition, schedule and scope of this technical team will jointly be determined as soon as possible,” according to the statement.

      Any joint activities in this initiative will be documented by appropriate international agreements, the statement concludes.

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