November 11, 2011
International Consensus On Joint Space Exploration
Representatives from 28 countries, the European Commission and the European Space Agency (ESA) met in Lucca, Italy, on 10 November for the Third International Conference on Exploration and the first High-level International Space Exploration Platform.
The conference, co-organized by ESA, the Chair of the ESA Ministerial Council — Italy — and the European Commission, highlighted the importance of space exploration and its direct benefit to humankind.
These leaders, including ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain, affirmed that, 50 years since humans first ventured into orbit, space exploration provides many benefits to society. Space exploration fuels discoveries, addresses global challenges through innovative technology, builds global partnerships by sharing challenging and peaceful goals, inspires younger generations, and provides economic expansion and new business opportunities.
The international high-level policy discussions in Lucca will help to expand these benefits.
Representatives endorsed the Lucca Declaration, which recognizes the benefit of a continuing dialogue on future space exploration to help identify potential areas for international cooperation.
It is expected that further discussions will cover joint missions and collaboration on research, and could lead to greater cooperation in areas such as access to space, innovation and space technologies, the use of current and future low-orbit infrastructures, and future human and robotic presence further out in space.
The government representatives in Lucca made a commitment to begin open, high-level policy dialogue on space exploration at government-level for the benefit of humankind. The United States offered to host the next meeting.
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