The International Space Exploration Coordination Group (ISECG) was established in response to "The Global Exploration Strategy: The Framework for Coordination" developed by fourteen space agencies1 and released in May 2007. This GES Framework Document articulated a shared vision of coordinated human and robotic space exploration focused on Solar System destinations where humans may one day live and work. Among the many Framework Document findings was the need to establish a voluntary, non-binding international coordination mechanism through which individual agencies may exchange information regarding their interests, plans and activities in space exploration, and to work together on means of strengthening both individual exploration programs as well as the collective effort.

Terms of Reference (TORs) for the ISECG were formally adopted at the first meeting of the ISECG held in Berlin in November 2007. Successive meetings were held in July 2008 (Montreal), March 2009 (Yokohama Japan), and most recently in Noordwijk, The Netherlands in December 2009. ISECG chairmanship rotates, with the host of the meetings assuming the role as Chair. Effective with the May 20, 2009, ISECG teleconference, ESA assumed ISECG Chairmanship from JAXA. NASA will assume Chairmanship from ESA in 2010. The scope of ISECG is broad and strategic. ISECG participants focus on the development through consensus of non-binding products -- findings, recommendations and other outputs as necessary -- for use by participating agencies. The bulk of the work leading to ISECG products is performed by ISECG working groups between meetings and is guided by full ISECG teleconferences held several times per year. The degree of participation in ISECG working groups varies by agency, and by product, but all products are shared with all ISECG member agencies, throughout the development process.

This "open and inclusive" approach – a key principle established in the GES - is endemic of all ISECG business. Throughout 2009, ISECG has demonstrated strong adherence to other key GES founding principles. For example, those agencies that participate in the production of certain ISECG products (referred to as "participating agencies" of that product) demonstrate through their participation the "flexible and evolutionary" nature of ISECG to serve as a forum for interested agencies to progress a variety of initiatives of interest to their programs and plans. Finally, the ISECG continues to focus on the development of products that are at once "effective" and of "mutual interest" to address the needs of the participating agencies. The ISECG performs its work through an evolving Workplan which is updated periodically as required to reflect the evolving needs of the participating agencies.


1 In alphabetical order: ASI (Italy), BNSC (United Kingdom), CNES (France), CNSA (China), CSA (Canada), CSIRO (Australia), DLR (Germany), ESA (European Space Agency), ISRO (India), JAXA (Japan), KARI (Republic of Korea), NASA (United States of America), NSAU (Ukraine), Roscosmos (Russia). "Space Agencies" refers to government organizations responsible for space activities.