From: NASA HQ
Posted: Thursday, July 5, 2007
I have written about my recent trip to Germany, Italy, and Russia. Mike Griffin also just met with heads of several of our international partner agencies during the Paris Air Show. During his meeting with Dr. Keiji Tachikawa, the head of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Mike signed a joint statement of intent.
NASA has signed statements of intent with JAXA, the British National Space Centre (BNSC), and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) (see the attached statements). These statements are not formal agreements. They do not signify a significant commitment of resources. However, they are important. They demonstrate the mutual interest of NASA and the international partner in potential exploration cooperation.
The willingness of our partners to sign these statements is progress. Two years ago, our International Space Station (ISS) partners would not discuss any potential future cooperation until they could be sure that NASA would meet its commitments to the ISS program. We have shown these partners that we are serious and will meet the commitments, and now our partners are beginning to discuss the future with us. Additionally, international participation in conclusion of the Global Exploration Strategy framework document shows that NASA is not "going it alone", but rather there is interest in the Moon and Mars around the world. We cannot say for sure what will come of our discussions, but we are communicating, and plan to continue to do so.
I plan to go to Japan in August to attend the SELENE-A lunar mission launch and have discussions with my counterparts at that time. I also plan to go to the UK this year, and to Russia and Kazakhstan to see my first Soyuz launch from Baikonur in October. I believe it is important for NASA's senior leadership to be represented at these launches when possible to reinforce NASA's appreciation of the importance of our international partnerships. NASA and JAXA are cooperative partners on JAXA's SELENE-A mission. The Soyuz will have on-board our Russian cosmonaut colleague Yuri Malenchenko, who will command the Soyuz flight, and NASA astronaut and Expedition 16 Commander Peggy Whitson.
I will keep you posted through this forum on my discussions with our international partners.
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