September 14, 2022
Head of the Washington Office, European Space Agency
Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of International and Interagency Relations, NASA
Vice-President, Space Program Policy, Canadian Space Agency
CEO, Thales North America
Since the first forays into space in the 1950s and 1960s, humans have pushed the boundaries of innovation to explore the great unknown outside our atmosphere. Through international partnerships and efforts, we’ve documented our groundbreaking exploration of the vast universe previously beyond comprehension.
During a panel about global partnerships and alliances at the 2022 Global Aerospace Summit, officials representing NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) discussed how collaboration acts as the cornerstone of robust international space operations.
Canada and Europe Are Essential Partners in NASA’s Artemis Program
Canada and Europe have made substantive contributions to NASA’s Artemis Program, an initiative designed to cultivate scientific discovery, economic benefits, and space exploration through a global alliance.
According to Mary Preville, vice president for Space Program Policy of the Canadian Space Agency, “Canada will be providing the space robotics for the lunar gateway” for Artemis. The ESA will provide the Orion spacecraft for propulsion power, thermal control, water, and air for the astronauts on board.
The global collaboration on the Artemis Program is only made possible by a commitment to interoperability, said Meredith McKay, deputy associate administrator, Office of International and Interagency Relations for NASA.
“When we're working with industry … partners … we [want to] make sure we have a framework of mutually-agreed-to standards and protocols and interfaces so that we have more opportunity to work together in the future,” McKay said.
America, Canada, and Europe Must Cooperate for Innovative Climate Change Progress
Climate science has become a key discussion point for scientists when considering space exploration. Leveraging space knowledge and technology developments enable us to use satellite imaging and more to address the climate change problem.
According to McKay, NASA has a close working relationship with CSA on all of its science and climate missions. With ESA, NASA established a joint planning group to develop a strategic partnership.
“That's just two examples of many where we have bilateral and multilateral groups, so we can coordinate our science, each of our scientists can achieve their goals, and we can find efficiencies working together.”
Canada’s synthetic aperture radar also shares its data both domestically and internationally. Preville spoke about using Canada’s data globally to assess climate issues. “We have a new strategy for Earth observation that we are implementing, and the key is making that data accessible,” she said. “Because we've been operating with [the data] for many years now, we have a lot of information that will help on change detection, permafrost, melting, [and more].”
Europe Seeks Global Cooperation While Boosting Its Independence and Autonomy
As Russia looks to China for a partner in space exploration, Europe seeks to strengthen its autonomy while forging strategic partnerships with other nations.
“I think our member states are not ready to consider future cooperation with Russia,” said Sylvie Espinasse, Head of the Washington Office for the European Space Agency. “We realized our dependency [on other nations] … [and now] try to enhance our capabilities to be more independent [and] more autonomous.”
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