On the heels of the launch of the White Paper on Space, European space policy took another leap forward as ESA and the EC successfully completed negotiations on a new Framework Agreement, signed today in Brussels.

The Agreement was signed by European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin, ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain and Letizia Moratti, Italian Minister for Education, University and Research.

Fields of cooperation include science and technology, Earth observation, navigation, communication by satellite, human spaceflight and micro-gravity, launchers, and spectrum policy related to space. The ESA and the EC will launch and fund joint projects, participate in each other’s schemes, create common management agencies, carry out studies and jointly organise conferences and training of scientists, exchange and share experts, equipment and materials, and access to facilities.

The Framework Agreement has two main aims. The first is the coherent and progressive development of an overall European Space Policy, which will specifically seek to link demand for services and applications using space systems in support of EU policies with the supply through ESA of space systems and infrastructures necessary to meet that demand. The second aim of the Agreement is to establish a common basis and appropriate practical arrangements for efficient and mutually beneficial cooperation between ESA and the European Union, fully respecting the institutional and operational frameworks of each.