Kyoto, 30 August, 2011.
Senior managers representing 10 space agencies* from around the world met in Kyoto, Japan today to advance a Global Exploration Roadmap for coordinated space exploration.
Over the past year, the International Space Exploration Coordination Group (ISECG) has developed a long-range exploration strategy that begins with the International Space Station (ISS) and expands human presence in the solar system, leading ultimately to human missions to explore the surface of Mars. The roadmap flows from this strategy and identifies two potential pathways: “Asteroid Next” and “Moon Next.” Each pathway represents a notional mission scenario over a 25 year period describing a logical sequence of robotic and human missions. Both pathways were deemed to be practical approaches capable of addressing common high-level exploration goals developed by the participating agencies, recognizing that individual preferences among participating space agencies may vary regarding these pathways.
The first iteration of the Global Exploration Roadmap will inform and help focus the planning currently underway in each of the partner agencies in the areas of planetary robotic exploration, advanced technology development and use of the ISS in preparation for exploration. It was agreed that over the next few weeks, this initial version of the Global Exploration Roadmap would be finalized and released to the public.
Mr. Yoshiyuki Hasegawa of JAXA, in his capacity as chairman of the International Space Exploration Coordination Group, noted “We are very happy with the progress of the Global Exploration Roadmap to technically coordinate both near and long term space exploration planning, with world space agencies.” Outgoing ISECG chair Bill Gerstenmaier said “NASA is confident that the release of this product, and subsequent refinements as circumstances within each space agency evolve, will facilitate the ability of space agencies to form the partnerships that will ensure robust and sustainable human exploration.” During the meeting, the senior agency managers also reaffirmed the role of the ISECG to facilitate the ability of space agencies to take concrete steps towards partnerships that reflect a globally coordinated exploration effort, consistent with their respective agency priorities and mission objectives.
The ISECG was established as a voluntary, non-binding international coordination forum, where the partner agencies who contributed to the Global Exploration Strategy (GES) can exchange information regarding interests, plans and activities in space exploration. The GES set forth a shared vision for concerted human and robotic space exploration missions focused on solar system destinations where humans may one day live and work. Another stated goal is to encourage the partners to work together on strengthening both individual exploration programs and collective efforts. The development of the Global Exploration Roadmap is the second step toward achieving this goal, following the development of the ISECG Reference Architecture for Human Lunar Exploration.
* In alphabetical order: ASI (Italy), CNES (France), CSA (Canada), DLR (Germany), ESA (European Space Agency), JAXA (Japan), KARI (Republic of Korea), NASA (United States of America), Roscosmos (Russia), UKSA (United Kingdom).