Global space strategy revealed

Fourteen of the world’s leading space agencies published their agreed vision for globally co-ordinated space exploration in a document called The Global Exploration Strategy: The Framework for Co-ordination.



The document outlines the rationale for society to explore space, defines the current focus and process of space exploration, the current interest in returning to the Moon and exploring Mars, and proposes a framework for the future co-ordination of global space exploration.



Science and Innovation Minister Malcolm Wicks said: ’This document marks the start of a new era of space exploration. Since the launch of Sputnik in 1957, we have learnt much about how to explore space and have experienced the benefits of scientific discoveries in our everyday lives. Innovations such as exploiting space for global communications, weather forecasting and helping emergency services have all flowed from the first half-century of space exploration.



‘During this century we are sure to see some fantastic voyages of discovery as robots and humans venture further into our Solar System. What they learn will excite and inspire new generations to get involved in science and create new technology that could benefit the whole economy.



‘The Framework for Co-ordination sets out a common vision for a new era of international collaboration. I welcome the fact that the UK can use this to inform our national plans while joining together in a truly global endeavour. ‘



The British National Space Centre, which co-ordinates UK civil space activities and represents the UK at the European Space Agency, was fully involved in shaping this document. Following its publication, it is expected that a voluntary, non-binding forum – the International Co-ordination Mechanism – will now be established so that all 14 nations can share their plans for space exploration, and collaborate to strengthen both individual projects and the collective effort.



The UK space sector is worth £4.8bn per annum, supports 70,000 jobs and makes an overall contribution to UK GDP of almost £7bn per annum.