NASA has signed two agreements with the European Space Agency to advance cooperation on Earth science and future lunar exploration missions.
The first cooperative agreement builds on a joint statement of intent the space agencies signed in July 2021 and outlines continued collaboration in areas including the exchange of Earth observation data within the scientific community and the public, NASA said Wednesday.
The space agencies also signed a memorandum of understanding regarding the planned launch of the Lunar Pathfinder spacecraft developed by U.K.-based company Surrey Satellite Technology.
NASA will arrange the delivery of the spacecraft to lunar orbit through its Commercial Lunar Payload Services program and secure access to lunar communication services under the agreement.
“ESA’s Lunar Pathfinder mission is critical to advancing the communications infrastructure needed at the Moon for a long-term human presence. And with the United States and Europe providing more than 70% of the world’s Earth science data, that agreement will set the standard for future international collaboration at a time when we need global collaboration most to tackle the climate crisis,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
Nelson signed the agreements with ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher during the ESA Council meeting in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.