Michael Braukus
Headquarters, Washington
Franco Bonacina
European Space Agency, Headquarters, Paris
Sept. 11, 2009
RELEASE : 09-208
U.S. and Europe Agree on Civil Space Transportation Cooperation
WASHINGTON -- NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and European Space Agency (ESA) Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain signed a memorandum of understanding Friday for cooperation in the field of space transportation. The agreement was signed at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

"From shuttle Spacelab missions to the International Space Station, ESA has a long history of participating with NASA in human spaceflight," Bolden said. "With this agreement, it is our intent to continue to build this relationship, sharing valuable engineering analyses and technology concepts that will help transport humans to low Earth orbit and beyond."

The agreement will allow NASA and ESA to exchange technical information and personnel, which will aid the eventual development of new transportation systems. It is expected that ESA's Ariane 5 development and flight experience will provide valuable engineering analyses and technology concepts for NASA's new launch and spacecraft systems.

"The memorandum of understanding marks a new milestone in the already very strong and long-lasting cooperation between ESA and NASA," said ESA's Dordain. "The exchange of technical information this document allows in the fields of space transportation will be beneficial to both agencies and will facilitate our work toward future launch systems, human spaceflight and exploration missions."

The exchanges of information will provide NASA with assistance in a number of areas, including: composite material technology; development of payload shrouds; and management of propellants in spacecraft propulsion systems used for transit to and from lunar orbit.

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